China’s Q1 GDP surge spurs world recovery: Global Times editorial
Published: Apr 16, 2021 05:18 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

China's economy grew 18.3 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021. This puts the average first-quarter growth in the past two years at 5 percent. Against the backdrop of a pandemic that has not yet been fundamentally alleviated, this result shows that China's economy is steadily recovering. A 5 percent average growth rate is the best performance among major economies in the world.

China's economic recovery has a strong momentum and is playing a leading role in the world. Some losses occurred in 2020, which have not yet been comprehensively covered by the current economic growth. There is still room to strive for further growth. Moreover, foreign trade has made a prominent contribution to the GDP surge, while domestic consumption has not yet reached the expected level. And domestic consumption is the closest indicator of the goal of improving people's living standards. 

The 18.3 percent growth rate in the first quarter will make it easy for China to hit the target of over 6 percent GDP growth in 2021. If everything goes smoothly, an annual growth rate of 8 percent can almost be secured. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted China's economy will grow by 8.4 percent this year. This may become a reality.

The IMF has projected 6.4 percent growth for the US in 2021. Last year, China's growth was 5.8 percentage points ahead of the US. This year, it is anticipated the gap will be 2 percent, which shows the gap in economic size between the two countries will continue to narrow. 

The US is vaccinating its population fast, meaning its economic growth will not be restricted by epidemic prevention and control. The situation in other developed economies will likely be another story. China must be aware of its position in the global economic recovery, while not being satisfied by the current front-runner status. 

China should compete with itself, its own mission, its people's demands for improving living standards, and the strong expectations for a better change from some small- and medium-sized business operators and ordinary people who have been hit by the epidemic. China must comprehensively fulfill its own economic work this year. 

The epidemic has brought about changes as well as new opportunities in the business environment. But some changes caused by the epidemic shock cannot be recovered. Such a major transformation has made it difficult for some people to keep up with the times. Helping them adapt to the new environment and overcome difficulties as soon as possible will be fundamental to speeding up economic recovery. 

Some people have not experienced changes in jobs, but their incomes have not increased, and some people's earnings have shrunk, in the past two years. This is also an aspect that needs attention to consolidate the country's economic recovery. 

US economic growth has been, to a large extent, achieved by printing more money. This is not solid economic growth and will only marginally improve the living standards of ordinary Americans. It can be argued the epidemic has further widened the gap between the rich and poor in US society. 

China attaches great importance to the inclusiveness of economic growth. This shows that the country places its people at the center. Yet it also makes its economic work more difficult, requiring China to pursue effectiveness. 

Investment in high-tech fields increased rapidly in the first quarter. High-technology manufacturing increased by 41.6 percent, and investment in the high-technology services sector rose by 28.6 percent. The effect in this field should also become a firm guidance. 

There have been some examples of repeated and inefficient high-tech investments in recent years. In Chinese society's efforts to break the stranglehold in high-tech development, problems may be unavoidable. But we must keep learning lessons, summing up experiences, and accelerating the improvement of the investment efficiency. Those must be our goals and they must be pursued with tangible results. 

It is believed the 18.3 percent growth in the first quarter will encourage Chinese society and the world. China is providing the driving force for world economic recovery, which will be a universal phenomenon worldwide. The competition among countries will be about who can grow faster and more solid and accumulate strength for long-term growth. 

It is hoped that China will not only offer outstanding economic data this year, but also make its people enjoy the achievements of economic recovery, generating more momentum for the future.