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GDP growth in China 1952-2011
Sharp increase in GDP during the reform period
GDP rose from Rmb362.4 billion in 1978, at the start of the reform period, to Rmb30 trillion in 2008 (both figures at current prices).
Structural change in the Chinese economy
during the reform period
The share of primary industry in GDP has fallen from 28% in 1978, at the beginning of the reform period, to 11% in 2008.
This fall occurred because agricultural output grew more slowly than
output of other economic sectors.
China's GDP rose and fell from 1952 to 2009
1953 Hyperinflation conquered; civil war and land reform ended: GDP up 15.6% in real terms.
1958-59 So-called "Great Leap Forward" devastated agriculture: result was falling GDP in 1960-62. (Figures for 1958-59 highly suspect, as the statistical network was largely destroyed in the "Leap", when absurdly high increases in output were reported by frightened local officials.)
1963-66 Partial restoration of market economy in the countryside promoted faster growth of agriculture.
1967-68 Production undermined by the so-called "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution", that was initiated by Mao in mid-1966 and effectively ended by People's Liberation Army intervention in 1968.
1969-70 High growth rates followed the restoration of order after the "cultural revolution".
1992 Deng Xiaoping's Southern Tour at the beginning of the year
massively boosted foreign
direct investment inflows into coastal areas and started a wave of
government investment in Shanghai. Record trade
and GDP growth and inflation followed.
However, the country's first production census discovered at the end of 2005 that GDP has recently been grossly underestimated as a result of a failure to take into account the rapid growth of the services sector. As a result, growth rates for 2003-2005 are now recorded at around 10% per year in real terms.
Despite efforts to cool the overheating economy, the officially recorded GDP growth rate was 11.4% in 2007.
In 2008 the global economic crisis began to reduce China's growth rate. In the face of forecasts that this might drop below the rate at which school leavers can be absorbed by the growing economy (7%-8%) the government decided to pump Rmb 4 trillion into the economy in the form of an economic stimulus package consisting largely of investment in fixed infrastucture and human capital.
The stimulus succeeded in preventing a dramatic fall in GDP growth in 2009 and in providing a sustained recovery in 2010, when the real annual GDP growth rate rose to 10.4%.
With stagnation in China's major markets in 2011, GDP growth is expected to subside to around 9.2% by the end of the year.
As global conditions continue to deteriorate in late 2011, it seems likely that economic growth will fall to around 8% in 2012. The government does not have the option of returning to stimulus on the massive scale of 2008-2009 and has to be careful not to stoke inflation.
Source: National Bureau of Statistics,
China Statistical Yearbooks; National Bureau of Statistics plan report;
National Bureau of Statistics communiqués.|
Last page update: 5 November 2011.