This report card marks the constitution of China's economy: Global Times editorial
Published: Feb 29, 2024 11:50 PM
A batch of new energy vehicles is about to be exported at the Port of Suzhou on December 13, 2023. Photo: VCG

A batch of new energy vehicles is about to be exported at the Port of Suzhou on December 13, 2023. Photo: VCG

The National Bureau of Statistics on Thursday released the Statistical Communique of China on the 2023 National Economic and Social Development, providing a comprehensive analysis of China's national economic and social development in 12 parts. While some attention-grabbing data, such as the 2023 GDP of over 126 trillion yuan ($17.51 trillion) and growth rate of 5.2 percent, had been previously disclosed, it does not diminish the significance and value of this statistical release. This communique can be regarded as the most comprehensive and authoritative material in understanding the current state of the Chinese economy.

Firstly, this statistical communique presents the highlights of China's economy for last year from various dimensions. Notably, the content related to economic structural transformation, green and low-carbon elements, new growth drivers, and livelihood improvements is commendable. Final consumption expenditure drove GDP growth by 4.3 percentage points, the year-on-year growth of the tertiary industry was 5.8 percent, and the value added of the high technology manufacturing industry increased by 2.7 percent, highlighting the progress of economic structural adjustment and transformation and upgrading. The electricity generated by clean energy such as hydropower, nuclear power, wind power and solar power was up by 7.8 percent over the previous year, which signifies the deepening green and low-carbon transition. The export breakthrough of "new three items" products surpassing 1 trillion yuan and the cultivation of around 400,000 high-tech enterprises directly emphasize the content of new economic growth drivers. The growth rate of total national income and the per capita disposable income of residents nationwide have both exceeded that of GDP, and the national urban surveyed unemployment rate decreased by 0.4 percentage points compared to the previous year, indicating new advancements in social livelihood endeavors.

Furthermore, the statistical communique and its related interpretations provide a more detailed exposition of how the effective enhancement of quality and the reasonable growth of quantity are mutually interdependent and mutually reinforcing during the stage of high-quality development. On one hand, progress in the construction of a modern industrial system, the continuous strengthening of new advantages and new dynamics, and the strategic push for innovation-driven development have led to a new surge, with production efficiency constantly improving. Many indicators outpace GDP growth, demonstrating a significant driving force. On the other hand, the 5.2 percent growth rate and an economic increment of 6 trillion yuan provide a solid foundation for the expansion of employment scale. They also offer a guarantee for various social livelihood initiatives, as well as investments in basic research and other areas. This is conducive to further optimizing the structure of the national economy.

In fact, such detailed statistics on economic and social development are not common worldwide, and they are worth reading carefully, especially against the backdrop of diverse opinions on the Chinese economy from the outside world. From the communique, we can see that the fundamentals of China's economic and social development are as vast and solid as the land beneath our feet. China's strong manufacturing capacity is recognized globally. Industries including agriculture, services, trade, environmental protection, cultural tourism, health and sports are all rapidly developing, with some differences at the specific level, but none lagging significantly behind. Just like a student who has studied all subjects and strives for progress, excelling in all subjects without specializing in any one. This is rare among the major economies in the world, if not unique.

As the world's second-largest economy, China has the world's largest, most comprehensive and well-equipped manufacturing system. At the same time, China is the world's second-largest consumer market for goods, the largest online retail market, and the world's second-largest "data mine." Moreover, newly released data shows that China's number of the world's top 100 scientific and technological innovation clusters has jumped to the first place. This means that China's economy has unlimited potential, whether it is the foundation needed for the healthy operation of the national economy as a whole, the elements required for the rapid development of new quality productivity, or the environment needed to nurture new technological revolutions. Reflected in this communique is not only the "size" of the Chinese economy, but also the "constitution" of the Chinese economy.

Of course, facing the complex domestic and international environment, the Chinese economy still faces many difficulties and challenges. However, as long as we choose the right path, we are not afraid of the distance. We must firmly focus on doing our own things well, continuously strengthen the foundation of "stability," accumulate the momentum of "progress," and consolidate the positive momentum. The Chinese economy will continue to demonstrate its resilience, vitality, and potential, and will remain the largest engine of global growth.