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China's Economy in 2003(2004/01/09)
A spokesman of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently disclosed that China's economy was estimated to grow by 8.5 percent in 2003, with the GDP exceeding 11 trillion yuan (US$1.33 trillion). This indicates that China's comprehensive national strength will rise to a new level.
According to NBS' reform plan, in the future the estimated annual GDP will be released in late January instead of the end of each year. Taking the 2002 GDP of 10.2 trillion yuan as the base figure, the country's GDP for 2003 is estimated to exceed 11 trillion yuan.
In the first quarter of 2003, China's economic growth reached 9.9 percent, hitting an all-time high for the same period since 1997. the second quarter registered a growth rate of 6.7 percent, owing to the adverse impacts of SARS and natural disasters. In the third quarter, China's economic growth rate basically resumed the pre-SARS level, reaching 9.1 percent.
Along with its rapid economic growth, China made many new records in its economic life in 2003: Its foreign exchange reserves exceeded US$400 billion;the savings deposits of urban and rural residents topped 10 trillion yuan;the growth of industrial production hit an all-time high since 1995;the total import and export value surpassed that of the previous year;investment in fixed assets made a new record;automobiles sell well;the Three Gorges water conservancy project, the south-to-north water diversion project and other key projects proceeded smoothly;and the Shenzhou-5 manned spacecraft was successfully launched.
At present, China's aggregate economy ranks sixth in the world;the output of many industrial and agricultural products, such as raw coal, steel, cement, color TV and mobile phones, comes first in the world;and the country's foreign exchange reserves rank second worldwide. In 2002, the total output of energy was equivalent to 1.39 billion tons of standard coal;the mileage of railways opened to traffic reached 72,000km;and the length of highways totaled 1.765 million km (including 25,000 km of expressways), ranking second in the world. The Three Gorges project, the west-to-east power transmission project, the west-to-east gas pipelines, the south-to-north water diversion project and other key projects now under construction will created more favorable conditions for China to maintain sustained and rapid economic growth.
China is the largest developing country in the world, with a tremendous potential for development. In addition, the fact that China has 1.3 billion people suggests it can provide a huge potential market. China's limited per-capita GDP has created great room for long-term rapid economic growth. Furthermore, China's labor cost is only 2 percent of that of developed countries, and the quality of labor is improving continuously. With the adjustment of the pattern of international division of labor, the trend of the transfer of global processing industries to China will be irresistible.
Since reform and opening-up, the Chinese Government has accumulated experiences in coping with various complicated situations and sudden events, which will provide an important guarantee for China's long-term economic growth. The implementation of the Decision of the CPC Central Committee on Some Issues Concerning the Improvement of the Socialist Market Economic System will further eliminate institutional barriers that stem the development of productive forces And inject strong vitality into the country's economic development and social progress. The WTO accession and accelerated pace of opening-up will further propel the development of China's economy. The implementation of the strategy of developing the country through science and education and the strategy of relying on talented people to build a powerful country, and the continuous scientific and technological progress are producing a strong motive force for the long-term development of China's economy. China's stable social environment has provided sound conditions for long-term rapid economic growth. The Third Plenary Session of the 16th CPC Central Committee held in October last year put forward the new concept of development of coordination urban and rural development, coordinating urban and rural development, coordinating regional development, coordinating domestic development and the requirements of opening-up, which will ensure the sustained, sound and rapid development of China's economy.
China is heading toward a new era of economic development and that six major changes have taken place in conditions supporting the country's economic growth. First, profound changes have taken place in the institutional mechanism. China is moving toward a complete market economy, which is manifested by the lowered eligibility threshold of market access, relaxed government control, improved investment, financing and legal environment, and more effective utilization of market factors. Second, industries supporting economic growth are no longer traditional labor-intensive industries. Capital- and technology-intensive industries are playing an important role in China's economic growth. For instance, electronic information, real estate and auto industries have become the main force propelling China's economic progress. Third, the market supporting China's economic growth includes both domestic and international markets. Fourth, with enterprises of multiple forms of ownership becoming the mainstay of economic growth, state-owned enterprises will focus on providing a better environment for the development of the whole society and the common progress of all forms of ownership. Fifth, major changes have taken place in regional economic structure. China's economic growth was mainly spurred by the rise of the economy on the Pearl River Delta in the 1980s, and jointly by the swift economic development on the Pearl River and Yangtze River Deltas in the 1990s. Now, with the all-round development of the national economy, a number of economic spheres will be formed, which, with relatively concentrated industries, can supplement each other in functions. As a result, concentrated industrial production centers will take shape in various parts of the country along with the development of the process of marketization, internationalization and urbanization. Sixth, a new concept that pursues all-round, coordinated and sustainable development has replaced the old concept that simply sought for the growth of GDP.
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