China Economy: from the All Country Info reference guide to country facts

China Economy

China Economy: A summary of information about China Economy, from government research data as well as independent research and other sources.

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China: Economy

Economy - overview
Beginning in late 1978 the Chinese leadership has
been moving the economy from a sluggish Soviet-style centrally planned
economy to a more market-oriented economy but still within a rigid
political framework of Communist Party control. To this end the
authorities have switched to a system of household responsibility in
agriculture in place of the old collectivization, increased the
authority of local officials and plant managers in industry, permitted
a wide variety of small-scale enterprise in services and light
manufacturing, and opened the economy to increased foreign trade and
investment. The result has been a quadrupling of GDP since 1978. In
1999, with its 1.25 billion people but a GDP of just $3,800 per
capita, China became the second largest economy in the world after the
US. Agricultural output doubled in the 1980s, and industry also posted
major gains, especially in coastal areas near Hong Kong and opposite
Taiwan, where foreign investment helped spur output of both domestic
and export goods. On the darker side, the leadership has often
experienced in its hybrid system the worst results of socialism
(bureaucracy, lassitude, corruption) and of capitalism (windfall gains
and stepped-up inflation). Beijing thus has periodically backtracked,
retightening central controls at intervals. In late 1993 China's
leadership approved additional long-term reforms aimed at giving still
more play to market-oriented institutions and at strengthening the
center's control over the financial system; state enterprises would
continue to dominate many key industries in what was now termed "a
socialist market economy". In 1995-99 inflation dropped sharply,
reflecting tighter monetary policies and stronger measures to control
food prices. At the same time, the government struggled to (a) collect
revenues due from provinces, businesses, and individuals; (b) reduce
corruption and other economic crimes; and (c) keep afloat the large
state-owned enterprises, most of which had not participated in the
vigorous expansion of the economy and many of which had been losing
the ability to pay full wages and pensions. From 50 to 100 million
surplus rural workers are adrift between the villages and the cities,
many subsisting through part-time low-paying jobs. Popular resistance,
changes in central policy, and loss of authority by rural cadres have
weakened China's population control program, which is essential to
maintaining growth in living standards. Another long-term threat to
continued rapid economic growth is the deterioration in the
environment, notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall
of the water table especially in the north. China continues to lose
arable land because of erosion and economic development. The next few
years will witness increasing tensions between a highly centralized
political system and an increasingly decentralized economic system.
GDP
purchasing power parity - $4.8 trillion (1999 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
7% (1999 est.)
GDP - per capita
purchasing power parity - $3,800 (1999 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 15%
industry: 35%
services: 50% (1999 est.)
Population below poverty line
10% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 2.2%
highest 10%: 30.9% (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
-1.3% (1999 est.)
Labor force
700 million (1998 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture 50%, industry 24%, services
26% (1998)
Unemployment rate
urban unemployment roughly 10%; substantial
unemployment and underemployment in rural areas (1999 est.)
Budget
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA
Industries
iron and steel, coal, machine building, armaments,
textiles and apparel, petroleum, cement, chemical fertilizers,
footwear, toys, food processing, automobiles, consumer electronics,
telecommunications
Industrial production growth rate
8.8% (1999 est.)
Electricity - production
1.16 trillion kWh (1998)
Electricity - production by source
fossil fuel: 80.31%
hydro: 18.46%
nuclear: 1.23%
other: 0% (1998)
Electricity - consumption
1.014 trillion kWh (1998)
Electricity - exports
7.935 billion kWh (1998)
Electricity - imports
89 million kWh (1998)
Agriculture - products
rice, wheat, potatoes, sorghum, peanuts, tea,
millet, barley, cotton, oilseed; pork; fish
Exports
$194.9 billion (f.o.b., 1999)
Exports - commodities
machinery and equipment; textiles and clothing,
footwear, toys and sporting goods; mineral fuels, chemicals
Exports - partners
US 22%, Hong Kong 19%, Japan 17%, Germany, South
Korea, Netherlands, UK, Singapore, Taiwan (1999)
Imports
$165.8 billion (c.i.f., 1999)
Imports - commodities
machinery and equipment, plastics, chemicals,
iron and steel, mineral fuels
Imports - partners
Japan 20%, US 12%, Taiwan 12%, South Korea 10%,
Germany, Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore (1999)
Debt - external
$159 billion (1998 est.)
Economic aid - recipient
$NA
Currency
1 yuan = 10 jiao
Exchange rates
yuan per US$1 - 8.2793 (January 2000), 8.2783 (1999),
8.2790 (1998), 8.2898 (1997), 8.3142 (1996), 8.3514 (1995)
note: beginning 1 January 1994, the People's Bank of China quotes the
midpoint rate against the US dollar based on the previous day's
prevailing rate in the interbank foreign exchange market
Fiscal year
calendar year
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