In March 1991, the Fourth session of the Seventh National
People’s Congress (NPC) approved the State Council’s Report
entitled "The Ten-year Layout for National Economy and Social
Development and 8th Five-Year Plan". Under Deng Xiaoping's
leadership, this Plan marked the start of a new phase in China's
The national economy maintained its growth momentum during this
time. Gross national product in 1995 reached 5.76 trillion yuan,
4.3 times than that in 1980.
Outputs of coal, cement, TV, foodstuff, cotton and cotton
dresses were the highest in the world, with steel and chemical
fiber outputs second, and electricity supply third.
China’s economy experienced an annual growth of 11 percent, 4
percentage points higher than that during the 7th Five-Year
Total investment in fixed assets during this time hit 3.89
trillion yuan, with an annual growth rate of 17.9 percent, 13.6
percentage points higher than the previous planning period. Of
these, state-owned units’ investments saw an annual growth of 22.9
percent, much higher than the average growth of 4.1 percent
845 large and medium-sized infrastructure projects were
completed and put into production, as were 374 technical innovation
projects. In terms of transportation infrastructure, 5,800
kilometers of trunk railway, 3,400 kilometers of double-track
lines, and 2,600 kilometers of electrified railway were built. Road
lengths were increased by 105,000 kilometers, including 1,600
kilometers of highway.
The throughput of ports increased by 138 million tons and 12 new
airports were built. 100,000 kilometers of long-distance trunk
cable were finished, and the number of telephone switchboards
increased to 58.95 million sets. Total installed generation
capacity was increased to 75 million kilowatts, and annual
electricity supply grew by 9 percent.
Output value of the primary industry increased at an annual
growth rate of 4.1 percent, the secondary industry at a rate of
17.3 percent, and the tertiary industry at a rate of 9.5 percent.
Output composition of the three sectors stood at 20.3: 47.7:32.0;
it was 28.4:43.1:28.5 at the end of the 6th, and 27.1:41.6:31.3 at
the end of the 7th Five-Year Program periods respectively.
Significant achievements were also made in the reform of the
economic system. The new financial system with tax decentralization
at its core, and the new tax system with value-added tax as its
main component, were set up. Policy finance and commercial finance
were gradually separated. A macro regulating system emerged, and
the market started to play a more major role in resource
allocation. Also mapped out were the beginnings of a dominant
More than 1,100 cities at county level were opened to the
outside world, and 13 bonded zones and other a lot of economic
development zones were set up.
Foreign trade developed at an astonishing pace with total trade
volume reaching US$1.0145 trillion, at an annual growth rate of
19.5 percent, higher than the 12.8 and 10.6 percent growth rates
during the 6th and 7th Five-Year periods respectively. The value of
annual export volume was 100 billion yuan, accounting for three
percent of the world’s commodity trade.
By import and export trade volume, China ranked 11th in the
world in 1995.
Foreign exchange reserves reached US$73.6 billion, 5.6 times
higher than that at the end of the 7th Five-Year period.
Major improvements were also made to people’s lives. Per capita
income was 1,578 yuan. Retail sales reached 6.7275 trillion yuan,
representing an annual growth rate of 10.6 percent as compared to
3.3 percent during the 7th Five-Year period. Savings deposit
balances in urban and rural areas reached 3 trillion yuan, 2
trillion higher than at the end of the previous planning
Per capita floor space of newly built houses in urban and rural
areas reached 4.3 billion square meters. At the end of 1994, rural
residents' per capita living space was 20.5 square meters, and 7.7
square meters for urban residents.
China registered an increase of 50 million in terms of social
labor forces, including 37.4 million in the urban areas. The
population of the poor decreased from 85 million at the end of the
1980s to 65 million in 1995.
Population control was achieved during this period, with growth
rates dropping from 14.39‰ in 1990 to 10.55‰ in 1995. Rates of
radio and TV population coverage reached 78.7 percent and 84.8
percent respectively, 4 and 5 percent respectively higher than in