07/22/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 07/22/2019 07:58
China, the second-largest economy in the world, has transformed from a lagging agricultural country to the world's top manufacturing powerhouse, as indicated by a recent report on China's achievements in economic and social development in the past 70 years from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The nation's economic structure has undergone profound changes with better coordination and balance, the report said.
Traditional industries and enterprises put more funds in quality and efficiency instead of solely concentrating on expansion, senior official of the State Information Center Wang Yuanhong said.
Central and western regions saw the biggest potential in economic growth, said Zhang Yan, a researcher at the Academy of Macroeconomic Research of National Development and Reform Commission.
Despite the unpredictable external environment and internal downward pressures, the country's economy has maintained a medium-to-high growth rate thanks to its own favorable conditions.
First, the industrial structure is optimized, with three sectors developing in coordination. In 2018, the added value of primary, secondary and tertiary industries accounted for 7.2 percent, 40.7 percent, and 52.2 percent, respectively.
The tertiary industry's added value and employment share increased by 23.5 percent and 37.2 percent, from 1952, indicating its growing role in the economy.
The service industry is stronger in boosting the economy, said Du Xishuang, head of the department of service statistics at NBS. In 1952, agriculture in China contributed to 50.5 percent of the total GDP and 83.5 percent of employment.
Now the country's industries are marching toward a mid-to-high level. Since the reform and opening-up, China's industries grew significantly in volume and stronger in technology. In 2018, hi-tech manufacturing took up 13.9 percent of the added value of industries above a designated scale, 6.9 percent higher than in 1995.
In the past few years, leading enterprises have made significant progress in promoting intellectual manufacturing and services, said Zhao Changwen, a top official at the Development Research Center of the State Council.
He added that the digital, smart and network-based operation helped ease down pressure caused by difficult recruitment and rising labor costs.
Emerging service industries, boosted by e-commerce, digital consumption, connected supply chain and other new technologies, is a leading player in innovation and entrepreneurship.
Second, the demand structure has improved. Back in 1952, there were no goods or services exports, with final consumption rate as high as 78.9 percent, and capital formation rate a mere 22.2 percent.
Since the reform and opening-up, especially after China joined the WTO in 2001, investment and export have played a crucial role in driving up its economy.
In recent years, domestic consumption demand, accumulated and expanded via long-term efforts, is increasingly pumping the growth and has become a reasonable structure.
In 2018, China's final consumption rate was 54.3 percent, contributing 76.2 percent to economic growth. Meanwhile, consumption upgrading continues.
Ning Jizhe, head of NBS, said the Chinese market holds the biggest potential in consumption in the world. NBS estimated about 140 million households in China with annual income of between 100,000 yuan and 500,000 yuan are able to afford houses, automobiles and travel for holidays.
Investment structure is enhanced as capital rapidly flew into areas that lack investment, and supply structure and quality are also improved. Before the reform and opening-up, investments were limited in key fields and heavy industry.
Trade structure has since changed radically. In 2018, the proportion of primary products in total exports fell to 5.4 percent from 53.5 percent in 1978, and that of manufactured goods rose to 94.6 percent. Free trade zones were built amid high-level opening up and closer bonds with the world and emerging markets.
Third, regional structure is more balanced as developing gaps shrank. The ratio of the highest per capita GDP to the lowest was 4.5 in 2018, and 8.1 in 1952.
The developing balance among different regions is strengthened. From 2012 to 2018, per capita GDP in central and western regions grew at an average annual rate of 8.2 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively, and in the eastern and northeastern regions it grew at an average annual rate of 7.2 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively. This shows central and western areas that were traditionally backward are now developing faster than eastern areas.
Also, industries allocated to central and western regions increased. In 1952, industries in the east and northeast accounted for 73.8 percent of the national total added value. In 2018, the added value of industries from the central and western regions took up 22.5 percent and 17.8 percent of China's total, up from 12.6 percent and 13.6 percent in 1952, respectively, exceeding two-fifths of the country's total.
Zhang Yan said the central and western regions, supported by infrastructure construction, will attract more investment and play a fundamental role in expanding effective investment.