Index shows China's thriving new growth drivers

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Quality inspectors check a new-energy vehicle in an automobile manufacturing workshop in Yibin, southwest China's Sichuan Province, July 20, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

New development drivers are increasingly underpinning China's growth, adding to economic vitality and innovation capability, an index shows.

The new growth driver index, compiled by the National Bureau of Statistics, increased by 35.4 percent in 2021 from a year earlier to 598.8, the bureau said Wednesday.

With 2014 as the base year and 100 points as the base value, the index measures the vitality of new industries, new business forms and models, with sub-indexes covering the internet economy, innovation capability, economic vitality, knowledge level and industrial upgrade.

Rapid internet economic growth

While all sub-indexes climbed in 2021, the sub-index for the internet economy surged 48.4 percent year on year to 1,963.6, contributing 81.9 percent to growth in the new growth driver index.

China has been pushing forward the construction of 5G and gigabit optical networks, fostering the internet, big data and artificial intelligence sectors, and promoting deep integration between the digital economy and the real economy, said He Qiang, a statistician with the bureau.

By the end of last year, the number of mobile internet users in China reached 1.42 billion, up 5 percent year on year, while the number of fixed broadband internet users stood at 540 million, increasing 10.8 percent over the previous year.

Growing online consumption

Online shopping, food delivery and other e-commerce services have developed rapidly, and brick-and-mortar businesses have expanded sales through livestreaming, group purchases and other online channels.

As a result, the online retail sales market has seen more consumption scenarios and growing consumption demand, said He.

Last year, China's online retail sales rose 14.1 percent to 13.1 trillion yuan (about 1.9 trillion U.S. dollars), according to data released by the bureau.

Specifically, online retail sales of physical goods increased by 12 percent during the period, and accounted for 24.5 percent of the total retail sales of consumer goods.

Increasing economic vitality

Following the government's efforts to improve the business environment and further streamline administration, delegate power, improve regulation and upgrade services, economic vitality has been enhanced, said He.

The sub-index for economic vitality increased 18.8 percent to 393.1 in 2021.

In 2021, the number of newly-added market entities went up 15.4 percent to top 28.87 million. The growth rate was 10.2 percentage points higher than the level registered in 2020.

Some 25,000 new enterprises were registered daily during the period, and the total number of market entities reached 150 million at the end of last year.

Rising R&D investment, output

China has vigorously promoted scientific and technological innovation and made breakthroughs in core technologies, said He.

In 2021, China's invested 2.8 trillion yuan in research and development (R&D), rising 14.6 percent over that of 2020. The country's R&D investment had maintained double-digit growth for six consecutive years.

Last year, China authorized 696,000 invention patents, with the average ownership of high-value invention patents reaching 7.5 per 10,000 people.

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