China's service trade climbed 4.1 percent year on year to 1.74 trillion yuan (about 252.84 billion U.S. dollars) in the first four months of the year, data showed Wednesday.

Service exports rose 10.1 percent during the period, while that of imports gained 1.1 percent. Deficit of service trade declined by 9.7 percent year on year to 506.06 billion yuan, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce (MOC).

In April alone, foreign trade of services expanded 9 percent from one year earlier, with the pace of growth accelerating from a rise of 2.2 percent in March, indicating the country's service trade has maintained a sound momentum of growth, MOC official Zhu Guangyao said.

The service trade data came amid the strong development of the service sector, which accounted for 52.2 percent of the country's total GDP last year. The service industry index, a gauge tracking business activity in the sector, stood at 7.4 percent in April, the second highest level since September.

Wednesday's data also showed the country's exports of knowledge-intensive business services increased 14.7 percent during the January-April period, of which the intellectual property royalties and financial service exports surged 37.8 percent and 21.8 percent respectively.

Zhu attributed the fast expansion to the ongoing supply-side structural reform and improving competitiveness of the country's producer service sector, expecting trade of knowledge-intensive business services to continue rapid development.

The imports of knowledge-intensive business services went up 10.4 percent during the period, according to MOC data.