THE economy expanded with full force last year, rising by a conspicuous 9.9% over 2004, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement in Beijing yesterday.
The economic volume, in gross domestic product terms, has overtaken France's as the world's 5th largest, analysts have observed.
They believe China's economy will continue to power ahead with full steam, led by rising domestic demand, vigorous overseas consumption of Chinese goods and more major investments in infrastructure, urban and rural construction, and technological innovation.
The statistical bureau commissioner Li Deshui said China's GDP rose to 18.2tril yuan (RM8.6tril) last year after expanding 10.1% in 2004.
The economy grew 9.9% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, after expanding a revised 9.8% in the previous three months, the bureau said.
France's 2004 output was worth RM7.7tril, and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has forecast a 1.6% growth for the country last year, Bloomberg News reported.
China is set to overtake Britain this year as the fourth-largest economy in the world.
The United State's RM45tril economy stands at No. 1, and Japan's is the second-largest at RM17.6tril. Exports and domestic consumption, coupled with booming fixed-asset investment, made China the world's fastest-growing major economy and an engine for worldwide expansion.
China was the second-biggest contributor to global growth in 2004, after the United States, according to the International Monetary Fund, Bloomberg said.
Exports surged 28% to RM2.9tril last year, generating a record RM382bil trade surplus. Overseas sales amounted to almost 40% of GDP, compared with about 25% in France, according to the World Bank. Investment makes up about 45% of China's output.
A nationwide economic census completed last year revealed that millions of previously unaccounted-for services companies helped ease concerns about China's ability to sustain growth. The census, published last month, added RM1tril – equivalent to the output of Austria – to China's 2004 GDP, and suggested services are more important to the economy than previously thought.
In announcing their blueprint for economic development for the coming five years in October, China's leaders said they would step up efforts to stimulate consumer spending in an economy where per capita incomes are still a 16th of France's. – China Daily / Asia News Network