SCIO briefing on 2015 national economic performance

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Wang Bao'an, commissioner of the National Bureau of Statistics

Hu Kaihong, vice director-general of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office

Jan.19, 2016

Hu Kaihong:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning! Welcome to the press conference of the State Council Information Office. China's economic development has been the focus of attention. Today, we are very honored to have Wang Bao'an, commissioner of the National Bureau of Statistics, here to brief you on China's economic performance in 2015 and later take your questions. Also at the press conference is Sheng Laiyun, spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics. Now, I hand the floor to Mr. Wang.

Wang Bao'an:

Friends from the press, good morning! Thank you for your concern and support regarding China's statistical work. I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to brief you all on the index and data of China's economic performance in 2015.

In 2015, faced with a complicated international environment and increasing downward pressure on the economy, the Central Party Committee and the State Council have maintained a strategic focus, comprehensively arranged both domestic and international tasks, adhered to the general work guideline of making progress while maintaining stability, actively adapted to and spearheaded the country's "new normal," guided new practices with new theories, strived for new development with new strategies, innovated macro-regulation, deepened structural reform and pushed forward the policy of "mass entrepreneurship and innovation." As a result, the economy has achieved moderate but stable and sound development.

According to preliminary estimations, the gross domestic product (GDP) of China was 67,670.8 billion yuan in 2015, an increase of 6.9 percent at comparable prices. Specifically, the year-on-year growth of the first quarter was 7.0 percent, the second quarter 7.0 percent, the third quarter 6.9 percent, and the fourth quarter 6.8 percent. The value added for primary industries was 6,086.3 billion yuan, up by 3.9 percent, for secondary industries, at 27,427.8 billion yuan, up by 6.0 percent and for tertiary industries, at 34,156.7 billion yuan, up by 8.3 percent. The gross domestic product of the fourth quarter of 2015 went up by 1.6 percent on a quarter-on-quarter basis.

1. Agricultural production gained another bumper harvest.

Total grain output in 2015 was 621.43 million tons, an increase of 14.41 million tons (up 2.4 percent). Total output of summer grain was 141.12 million tons, an increase of 3.3 percent; total output of early rice was 33.69 million tons, down 0.9 percent; total output of autumn grain was 446.62 million tons, an increase of 2.3 percent. The total output of cereals was 572.25 million tons, an increase of 2.7 percent. The total output of cotton was 5.61 million tons, a fall of 9.3 percent. Total output of pork, beef, mutton and poultry totaled 84.54 million tons, down 1.0 percent; total output of pork was 54.87 million tons, a decrease of 3.3 percent. The total output of poultry eggs was 29.99 million tons, up 3.6 percent; total milk output was 37.55 million tons, up 0.8 percent.

2. Industrial upgrading got remarkable.

Total value added of industrial enterprises above designated size (meaning all industrial enterprises with annual revenue from their principal business over 20 million yuan) was up by 6.1 percent at comparable prices in 2015. An analysis by types of ownership showed the growth in value added of state holding enterprises was 1.4 percent; that of collective enterprises 1.2 percent; share-holding enterprises 7.3 percent; and enterprises funded by foreign investors or investors from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, 3.7 percent. In terms of sectors, mining value added grew by 2.7 percent compared with the previous year, manufacturing 7.0 percent and electricity, thermal power, gas and the production and supply of water 1.4 percent. New industries grew rapidly. In 2015, the added value of the high-tech industry grew by 10.2 percent, 4.1 percentage points faster than industrial enterprises above designated size. It accounted for 11.8 percent of industrial enterprises above designated size, an increase of 1.2 percentage points from the previous year. In the new technology industry, aerospace vehicles and equipment manufacturing grew by 26.2 percent, electronic and communication equipment manufacturing 12.7 percent, optical and photographic equipment manufacturing 10.6 percent and pharmaceuticals 9.9 percent. In 2015, the sales-output ratio of industrial enterprises above designated size reached 97.6 percent. The export delivery value of these enterprises reached 11.8582 trillion yuan, down 1.8 percent. In December, the total value added of industrial enterprises above designated size rose 5.9 percent year-on-year or 0.41 percent month-on-month.

From January to November, the profits made by industrial enterprises above designated size stood at 5.5387 trillion yuan, down 1.9 percent year-on-year. The costs per-hundred-yuan of turnover in the principal activities of industrial enterprises above designated size reached 85.97 yuan and the profit rate of their principal activities was 5.57 percent.

3. Growth of investment in fixed assets slowed down.

In 2015, the investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households) was 55.159 trillion yuan, a nominal year-on-year increase of 10.0 percent over the previous year, or real growth of 12.0 percent after deducting price factors, 2.9 percentage points slower than the previous year in real terms. Specifically, investment by state holding enterprises reached 17.8933 trillion yuan, a rise of 10.9 percent; private investment was 35.4007 billion yuan, up 10.1 percent, accounting for 64.2 percent of total investment. In terms of sectors, investment in the primary industry was 1.5561 trillion yuan, up 31.8 percent; the secondary industry 22.409 trillion yuan, up 8.0 percent; and the tertiary industry 31.1939 trillion yuan, an increase of 10.6 percent. The funds in place for investment in 2015 were 57.3789 trillion yuan, up 7.7 percent. Specifically, the state budget rose 15.6 percent, domestic loans fell 5.8 percent, self-raising funds increased 9.5 percent and foreign investment was down 29.6 percent. The total investment in newly-started projects in 2015 was 40.8084 trillion yuan, an increase of 5.5 percent. In December, investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households) grew by 0.68 percent month-on-month.

In 2015, the nation's investment in real estate development was 9.60 trillion yuan, a year-on-year nominal growth of 1 percent or a real growth of 2.8 percent after deducting price factors. Of this total, investment in residential buildings went up by 0.4 percent. The floor space of houses newly started was 1.54 billion square meters, down by 14.0 percent from the previous year. Specifically, the floor space of residential buildings newly started dropped by 14.6 percent. The floor space of commercial buildings sold reached 1.28 billion square meters, up by 6.5 percent. Of this total, that of residential buildings went up by 6.9 percent. The sales of commercial buildings were 8.73 trillion yuan, up by 14.4 percent. Of this total, that of residential buildings was up by 16.6 percent. The land space purchased by real estate development enterprises was 228.11 million square meters, down by 31.7 percent. By the end of December, the floor space of commercial buildings for sale reached 718.53 million square meters, up by 15.6 percent from the end of last year. The actual funds for real estate development enterprises in the 2015 reached 12.52 trillion yuan, up by 2.6 percent.

4. Market sales have developed fairly rapidly.

In 2015, the total retail sales of consumer goods reached 30.09 trillion yuan, a year-on-year nominal growth of 10.7 percent, or 10.6 percent adjusted for inflation. Specifically, the retail sales of the units above a designated size stood at 14.26 trillion yuan, up by 7.8 percent. In terms of areas, retail sales in urban areas reached 25.90 trillion yuan, up by 10.5 percent, and sales in rural areas stood at 4.19 trillion yuan, up by 11.8 percent. Grouped by consumption patterns, the total income of the catering industry was 3.23 trillion yuan, up by 11.7 percent year on year; the retail sales of goods were 26.86 trillion yuan, up by 10.6 percent. In particular, the retail sales of units above a designated size reached 13.39 trillion yuan, up by 7.9 percent. In December, the total retail sales of consumer goods grew by 11.1 percent nominally year-on-year (a growth of 10.7 percent adjusted for inflation), or 0.82 percent month-on-month. In 2015, the online retail sales reached 3.88 trillion yuan, a growth of 33.3 percent year-on-year. Specifically, the online retail sales of goods registered 3.24 trillion yuan, up by 31.6 percent, accounting for 10.8 percent of the total retail sales of consumer goods. The online retail sales of intangible goods were 634.9 billion yuan, up by 42.4 percent.

5. Imports and exports showed a decline as compared to the previous year

The total value of imports and exports in 2015 was 24.58 trillion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 7.0 percent. The total value of exports was 14.14 trillion yuan, a decline of 1.8 percent; that of imports was 10.45 trillion yuan, down by 13.2 percent. The trade surplus was 3.69 trillion yuan. In December, the total value of imports and exports was 2.48 trillion yuan, down by 0.5 percent year-on-year. The total value of exports was 1.43 trillion yuan, up by 2.3 percent; that of imports was 1.05 trillion yuan, down by 4.0 percent.

6. Consumer prices grew mildly.

In 2015, consumer prices went up by 1.4 percent year-on-year. Specifically, prices went up by 1.5 percent in cities and 1.3 percent in rural areas. Grouped in commodity categories, prices for food rose 2.3 percent; tobacco, liquor and their products increased by 2.1 percent; clothing rose 2.7 percent; household facilities, articles and maintenance services were 1.0 percent higher; prices for health and personal care grew by 2.0 percent; transportation and communication prices dropped by 1.7 percent; recreation, education as well as culture goods and services grew by 1.4 percent; and housing was 0.7 percent higher. In the food sector, grain grew 2.0 percent, oil and fats fell 3.2 percent, pork was up by 9.5 percent and fresh vegetables rose 7.4 percent. In December, consumer prices went up by 1.6 percent year on year, or 0.5 percent month-on-month. In 2015, producer prices for industrial products dropped by 5.2 percent year on year. In December, there was a drop of 5.9 percent year on year, or 0.6 percent month-on-month. During last year, purchasing prices for industrial producers fell 6.1 percent year on year. In December, the price was down by 6.8 percent year on year, or 0.7 percent month-on-month.

7. Residents' income maintained stable growth.

The average disposable income of residents reached 21,966 yuan last year, registering a nominal growth of 8.9 percent and an actual growth of 7.4 percent regardless of price factors on a yearly basis. In view of permanent residences, the average disposable income of urban residents reached 31,195 yuan, growing 8.2 percent nominally and 6.6 percent regardless of price factors year on year. At the same time, the disposable income of the rural residents climbed to 11,422 yuan on average, with an annual growth of 8.9 percent nominally and 7.5 percent regardless of price factors. The per capita income of urban households was 2.73 times of the rural households, 0.02 less than last year. On average, the median disposable income last year rose 9.7 percent nominally to 19,281 yuan. When categorizing residents' incomes into five groups, the disposable income of low-income group hovered around 5,221 yuan on average, the lower-middle-income group 11,894 yuan, the middle-income group 19,320 yuan, the upper-middle-income group 29,438 yuan and the high-income group 54,544 yuan. The Gini Coefficient for the overall income of national residents reached 0.462 in 2015. The number of farmer-turned workers climbed 1.3 percent to 277.47 million with an increase of 3.52 million. Of them, local farmer-turned workers rose to 108.63 million, with an increase of 2.7 percent year on year, while migrant farmer-turned workers were at 168.84 million, with a growth of 0.4 percent. On average, the monthly income of farmer-turned workers increased by 7.2 percent to 3,072 yuan last year.

8. The economic structures were improved and upgraded.

The industrial structure continued to be improved and upgraded. The value added of tertiary industry accounted for 50.5 percent of the GDP last year, 2.4 percentage points higher than the proportion of a year earlier and 10.0 percentage points higher than the secondary industry in the same year. The demand structure was further improved. The final consumption expenditure contributed 66.4 percent to the GDP last year, about 15.4 percentage points higher than that of a year earlier. The balance of the regional structures was strengthened. The value added of the industries above the designated size in the central and western regions grew by 7.6 percent and 7.8 percent respectively, higher than the eastern region by 0.9 and 1.1 percentage points. Investments on fixed assets without those from rural households grew by 15.7 percent in the central region, 3.0 percentage points higher than the growth of eastern region. Energy conservation and consumption reduction have made new progress. The energy consumption per unit of GDP decreased 5.6 percent year on year.

9. The supply of money and credit grew steadily.

The balance of M2 reached 139.23 trillion yuan by the end of December last year, registering a yearly growth of 13.3 percent, the balance of M1 was 40.10 trillion yuan, up 15.2 percent, and the balance of M0 was 6.32 trillion yuan, up 4.9 percent. At the same time, the amount of outstanding RMB loans was 93.95 trillion yuan, while the amount of outstanding RMB deposits was 135.70 trillion yuan. The newly increased loans reached 11.72 trillion yuan, a growth of 1.81 trillion yuan more than that of last year, while the newly increased deposits were 14.97 trillion yuan, registering a growth of 1.94 trillion yuan when compared to a year earlier. The social financing increased 15.41 trillion yuan.

10. The population and employment were generally stable.

The population of the Chinese mainland (including those from the 31 provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the central government and military servicepersons, excluding the populations of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, Taiwan Province and overseas Chinese) reached 1.37462 billion last year, registering a growth of 6.8 million from a year earlier. The number of births throughout the year arrived at 16.55 million, registering a birth rate of 12.07 permille, while the number of deaths reached 9.75 million, registering a death rate of 7.11 permille. The natural population growth rate was 4.96 permille down 0.25 permillages from the previous year. In view of the gender structure, the male population reached 704.14 million and the female population reached 670.48 million. The sex ratio of the total population was 105.02 to 100 between males and females, while the sex ratio at birth was 113.51 to 100 between males and females. In view of the structure of ages, the population with ages ranging from 16 to 59, who compose the major labor force in the country, reached 910.96 million, decreasing by 4.87 million when compared to a year earlier and accounting for 66.3 percent of the entire population. The population above 60 (including 60) was 222.00 million, taking up 16.1 percent of the entire population. Meanwhile, people aged 65 and over reached 143.86 million, accounting for 10.5 percent of the total. Judging from the rural and urban structure, the number of permanent urban residents reached 771.16 million, about 22.00 million more than that of a year earlier. Rural permanent residents were recorded at 603.46 million, a decrease of 15.20 million from a year earlier. Urban residents took up 56.1 percent of the entire population. The population who reside in areas other than their household registration and have been away from there for over six months reached 294 million by the end of last year, a decrease of 3.77 million all over the country. Of them, the migrant population was 247 million, diminishing by 5.68 million from a year earlier. At the end of 2015, the total number of employed persons reached 774.51 million, among which 404.10 million were employed in urban areas.

Generally speaking, the national economic performance in 2015 was within a reasonable range as the economic structure continued improving, the industrial transformation and upgrading were accelerating, the new impetus continued to gain momentum and the people's livelihood was further bettered. However, we should still notice that amid the complicated international environment and when facing the critical moments of domestic structural transformation and upgrading, the mission to comprehensively deepen reform confronted great difficulties and challenges. Therefore, we must carefully study and implement the spirit of the 18th CPC National Congress, the third, fourth and fifth plenary sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee and the Central Economic Work Conference. We must also carefully implement the strategies deployed by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. We need to adhere to the guidelines that the macro policies are stable, industrial policies are precise, micro policies are flexible, reform policies are practical, and social policies meet people's basic needs. We also need to focus on the supply-side structural reform. Our aim is to ensure that the Chinese economy can keep a medium-high growth rate and achieve medium-to-high level of development, and people can enjoy a medium-to-high income.

Those are the 10 aspects concerning the major indicators and performance of China's economy in 2015. Thank you.

Hu Kaihong:

Thank you, Mr. Wang. Now let's open the floor for questions and I humbly remind you to identify your media outlets before asking questions.


I have two questions. First, the growth rate of GDP stood at 6.9 percent in 2015, a decline of 0.4 percentage points compared with the previous year. Could you please explain the reasons for the decline? Second, what do you think of the overall performance of the national economy in 2015? Thank you.

Wang Bao'an:

Thank you for your questions. The growth rate of 6.9 percent in 2015 is an indicator which attracts most public concerns. While analyzing the growth rate, firstly we need to judge the economic performance through a comprehensive approach. Internationally, the world economic recovery is still weak. The overall economic situation is complicated, with the international trade volume declining and financial risks increasing. All these factors undoubtedly impact on the Chinese economy. In this case, people will find that the growth rate of 6.9 percent is not too low and it conforms to the current Chinese situation where economic growth is constrained by various factors, and meets relevant strategic targets and objective demands.

Secondly, we need to judge the economic performance through a dialectical approach. In the case of economic downturn, people will pay more attention to the decline in industrial growth and the long-term decline in the producer price index (PPI). From the perspective of the industrial growth rate, it will certainly affect the economic growth rate; but from the perspective of our development targets, it is an inevitable requirement for us to implement the innovation-driven strategy and optimize the economic structure; and it is also a normal performance in structural transformation and updating. Here are some examples. The rate of decline in six high energy consuming industries is most obvious. However, if there is no such decline in these industries, how will the bottleneck problems of resources and environment deterioration be solved? How will the green development concept be achieved? How can the industrial structure be forced to upgrade? In the short term, the growth rate has indeed declined, but, in the long term it will be precisely in line with our targets and strategies.

Thirdly, we need to judge the economic performance through an historical approach. Currently, we are in the period of structural transformation in regard to economic development, during which we must simultaneously deal with the slowdown in economic growth, make tough structural adjustments, and absorb the effects of previous economic stimulative policies. In this case, the environment in regard to resources, markets, supply and demand have all changed. So, China's growth rate of 6.9 percent is hard-earned. Particularly in the current international situation, this growth rate of 6.9 percent is unique and leads the world, contributing more than 25 percent of global economic growth.

Therefore, the growth rate of 6.9 percent conforms to the targets set for medium and high growth. It is a result achieved in the development period when the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have got down to earnest work to maintain the development focus, and innovate macro-adjustment and control. It is truly a hard-earned achievement.

Wang Bao'an:

In 2016, China's economy still faces a complicated international situation.In particular, we are planning to speed up supply-side structural reform, while cutting industrial overcapacity, destocking, de-leveraging, lowering costs and improving weak links. During the process, some industries may continue their downturn trends. On the other hand, new industries, new business forms and new commercial models will thrive. For example,concerning new business forms, the online retail sales volume of physical goods has increased by 31.6 percent whencompared tolast year's; this is far faster than the growth speed of the society's retail sales volume. The new industries are also thriving. A batch of new coastal strategic industries in Shenzhen and Shanghai has witnessed a growth rate of more than 10 percent. The added value of the nation's hi-tech industry has increased by 10.2 percent, 4.1 percent more than above-scale industries. As everyone noticed, with the stimulation of preferential policies, new energy vehicles saw a relatively faster growth, increasing more than 1.6 times.

With all these factors, we consider that the Chinese economy will have stable growth in 2016. We have faith in this.

Financial Times:

A lot of people pay attention to the service industry's contribution to economic growth. We saw that in the third quarter.Other service industries have made outstanding contributions to economic growth. Can you elaborate on what the other service industries are?

Wang Bao'an:

Everybody noticed that China's service industry had relatively fast growth in 2015, and it continued taking up more in terms of percentage than secondary industries.The increase is a necessary requirement of the optimizationof the economic structure. Therefore, the fast growth of the service industry last year wasa significant step towards achieving the strategic development goals. The trend is in accord with economic development laws. Whether you are approaching it from the perspective of the history of economic development, or from the research theory, when the economy develops to a certain stage, especially during the middle-late stages of industrialization, the service industry will obviously have more proportions. The Chinese economy's development also follows these laws.

This reporter may ask why the Chinese service industry grew so fast. I'll give you an example. The tax revenue of the service industry has taken up54.8 percent of the nation'stotal tax revenue. The growth volume of the tax revenue of the service industry took up 80 percent of all tax revenue growth. In it, tax revenue related to Internet services grew by 19 percent. These statistics can prove the fast growing trend of China's service industry development and its contribution to economic growth. Thanks.

China Daily:

In the past year, some media and research institutions have questioned the accuracy of China's GDP growth rate; some people think the real rate should be below five percent. What is your response? Thank you.

Wang Bao'an:

We have heard some comments about China's GDP from institutions and researchers falling into two categories: one is that China has overvalued its GDP growth rate as you have mentioned; the other view is that lots of factors haven't be calculated. Here, I would like to introduce China's GDP accounting system again.

As an important part of the statistical system, GDP accounting is a symbolic indicator, to which the CPC Central Committee and State Council attach great importance. They have vowed to deepen statistical and system reform, as well as seek improvements in the statistical survey and accounting methods, so as to make statistics even more accurate, and improve the overall quality of statistical data.

Firstly, China's GDP accounting system features solid and accurate basic data guaranteed by the system and mechanism. More than one million enterprises above designated size can upload their data directly to the network system of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) without any human intervention or modification.

Secondly, there is an investigation team consisting of 20,000 plus people, who investigate and verify the economic data in order to guarantee its production quality. Meanwhile, we have cooperated with big data companies; for example, we cooperated with Sublime China Information Group Co., Ltd. (SCI Group) on data of the prices of the means of production. In addition, we carry out an economic census every five years to investigate and analyze the socio-economic development data of the entire country.

Thirdly, we adopted the statistical accounting method that has been agreed internationally, and drawn on the advanced experiences of other countries. Last year, we officially introduced the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) from International Monetary Fund (IMF), which launched a new era in high-level statistical reporting.

Fourthly, our data and GDP accounting are approved and used by international authorities, including the United Nations Statistical Commission, IMF and World Bank.

Therefore, our statistical accounting method conforms to the internationally accepted standard, the reliability of the system is guaranteed, and the data quality is ensured by law. According to the Statistics Law of the People's Republic of China, data fraud is not allowed and will be punished. Currently, we are dealing with such a case. Some local officials have been punished because they changed the samples of some respondents. Our statistics enforcement is very serious and strict.

In addition, China's GDP accounting consists of three steps: preliminary calculation, preliminary check and final verification. With more and more indicators acquired, we continuously verify and calibrate our data. In a word, our GDP data is accurate and creditable. Thank you.

Al Jazeera:

China's economic growth rate was 6.9 percent last year. It was the lowest figure in the past 25 years. You said that there were some external reasons behind this, such as economic fluctuations all over the world, and there were also domestic reasons, such as the debts of local government, the bubbles in the real estate market and the fluctuation of the stock market. Could you explain in detail how these factors influenced China's economic growth?

Wang Bao'an:

When I briefed you about the slowdown of China's economic growth in 2015, I mentioned the influence of the international situation. I didn't say much about domestic factors just now, because our time is limited. In 2015, China's real estate market faced downward pressure, and the stock market saw a few fluctuations. Of course, they had an impact on China's economic growth, but as for how large the impact was, we needed to make further calculations. Take the stock market as an example; there were a few ups and downs in the prices, but when calculating GDP, we only considered the total trading volume of the stock market. Therefore, as long as the trading volume increased, the stock market's contribution to GDP was positive. In 2015, the growth of real estate investment slowed down, but the floor space of buildings sold out and the total sales price increased when compared with 2014. So, generally speaking, the two factors' impact on GDP growth was limited. As for local governments' debt, there is no notable rise so far, and its proportion to GDP is less than 40 percent, which is below the internationally recognized safety level of60 percent.

Therefore, when analyzing China's economy in 2015, we should take into account all factors. In addition to the aforementioned factors, we should also consider the development of the new economy, the development of new industries, new business forms, new commercial models, the stronger driving force of innovation, and the acceleration of the transformation of these driving forces. The 6.9-percent growth rate was a result of all those factors. Some of them had negative influences, and some had positive influences. The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council have never set a growth rate that is too high. The macro-regulation aims at preventing the economy from fluctuating wildly. Currently, we are still keeping a medium-high growth rate. We should be responsive to the new trend and take initiatives to shape the new normal in our favor. The Chinese economy has entered a state of new normal. It means we are shifting gears from high speed to medium-to-high speed growth, and the growth will be driven by innovation. We will comprehensively deepen reform, especially on the supply side. This matches our strategic objective.

After analyzing these factors, I'd like to stress one point again: In 2015, China comprehensively achieved a stable performance and secured positive progress in its economic development. There is one more thing I'd like to stress: The overall performance was stable and great progress was made. The progress featured innovation and the innovation helped improve the quality of the economy. Why do I say so? The stable overall performance could be seen in four aspects.First, the growth rate was stable, as there was no big fluctuation during the whole year. Second, the employment market was stable and newly increased employment, including the employment of college graduates, kept rising. According to investigations, the unemployment rate in big cities was around 5.1 percent. Third, the prices were stable. The CPI rose 1.4 percent the whole year and 1.6 percent in December. Fourth, the residents' income grew at a stable pace. The per-capita disposable income of rural residents increased by 7.5 percent in real terms, that of urban residents by 6.6 percent and that of the whole population by7.4 percent.

Second, positive progress could be seen in the following aspects. First, the economic structure was upgraded. About 50.5 percent of the GDP came from the tertiary sector. This was 10 percentage points higher than the secondary sector. Second, the structure of demand was improved. The final consumption expenditure accounted for more than 60 percent of the total GDP. Third, residents' consumption structure was improved. In recent years, China's Engel coefficient kept declining, standing at 31.2 percent in 2013, 31 percent in 2014 and 30.6 percent in 2015.

Third, innovation was made during the progress. In 2015, the growth rate of the value added from high-tech industries was 4.1 percentage points higher than the industries above the designated size. This had important implications. New industries, new business forms and new commercial models were booming. The market was further invigorated. The number of non-State-owned enterprises grew quickly, and their value-added growth and profits were much higher than State-holding enterprises.

Fourth, the innovation helped improve the quality of the economy. This could be seen in the following aspects. The expansion of production factors was of higher quality and with higher efficiency. Sustainable development was further promoted. The energy use per unit of GDP lowered 5.6 percent last year. This was a remarkable achievement made possible by hard work. It indicated that we were working hard to pursue green development, promote sustainable development and make breakthroughs in resource conservation and environmental protection. Additionally, overall labor productivity increased 4,733 yuan per person in 2015 when compared with 2014. Thank you.

Economic Daily:

The current government has unveiled a series of policies and measures to keep growth stable since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, but we are still faced with major downward pressure, which resulted in the 6.9-percent GDP growth last year. I want to ask Mr. Wang to comment on the series of growth-stabilizing measures. Thank you.

Wang Bao'an:

Since the CPC's 18th National Congress, the new leadership of the Party has maintained its strategic steadiness in rationally coordinating the domestic and international situation. Targeting low, unbalanced growth, high risks, and lack of momentum in the international economy, as well as overcapacity and downward pressure in the home market, the central leadership has implemented a series of measures to stabilize growth, advance reform, make structural adjustments, improve people's livelihood and ward off risks. In coordinating these strategic objectives, the central leadership has continuously innovated macro-control measures, constantly deepened reform, thus ensuring stable growth of the economy and maintaining China's contribution to international economic growth. The examples are as follows:

First, ensuring balance between stable growth and economic restructuring, and stressing the keynote aspect as ensuring stability while seeking progress; innovating macro-control, and ensuring the market plays a decisive role in resource allocation on the basis of discretionary macro regulation; implementing range-based and targeted regulation mainly to accommodate the requirement for economic restructuring. Innovations were made in regard to macro-control measures and none of these were of the "one size fits all" type.

As we have noticed, some researchers said that the stimulus packages we unveiled in 2015 were no less than those announced in 2008 in response to the international financial crisis. In fact, this current government did not roll out too many stimulus packages, following the Party's central authority's requirement to seek progress based on stability and to avoid drastic stimulus plans. We do have a series of indices showing how effective the policies have been.

M2 grew 13.3 percent last year; the figure was 17.8 percent in 2008. Yuan loans grew by 14.3 percent last year, compared with 18.8 percent in 2008. No significant increase was seen in the deficit ratio or the debit ratio. Last year, local governments initiated local debt replacement, the amount totaling 3.2 trillion yuan (US$4.88 billion). As for fixed-asset investment, it grew 10 percent last year, but 26.6 percent in 2008. These indices may answer your question.

Second, these policies have a common feature whereby we seek progress based on stability, innovate macro-control and advance reform in regard to both supply and demand. In regard to specific measures, while we maintained stable macro-control, we did more to advance reform, in order to safeguard economic stability and innovative drive in the system and mechanisms, while seeking new momentum and sectors to lead growth.

Also, we promoted widespread entrepreneurship and innovation, which I believe represents a change in social formation, that is, the entire nation has entrepreneurial enthusiasm and those who have the necessary conditions and capacity have the passion to innovate. It is a kind of social formation, a stage in the development, and an objective requirement to form new development momentum. The reason why employment remained stable last year was because "widespread entrepreneurship and innovation" played a major role in securing employment, optimizing the industrial structure and facilitating the new economy to grow. In 2015, the number of registered enterprises increased 12,000 each day on average.

Third, boosting coordinated regional development. Since the CPC's 18th National Congress, the CPC's Central Committee and the State Council have been underscoring coordinated regional development. In line with the requirements for the country's development and economic growth, a series of policies aimed at boosting coordinated regional and urban-rural development have proved fruitful. In 2015, the investment growth rate in western areas was three percentage points higher than that in eastern areas, and the growth of industrial added value in western and central areas outpaced that in the east. Regarding urban-rural differences, rural income growth outpaced that in urban areas by 0.9 percentage points, narrowing the urban-rural gap. These all indicate that the imbalance between regions is diminishing.

Fourth, expanding opening up. The Belt and Road Initiative deepens opening up and has brought good achievements. Investments from Chinese enterprises in the 49 countries along the "Belt and Road" grew by 18.2 percent, a remarkable rise indeed.

Fifth, improvement in people's livelihood. Since the CPC's 18th National Congress, we have introduced a series of measures to improve people's livelihood. For example, we continued to relocate people living in shantytowns, with remarkable progress achieved in recent years. During the country's Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2011-15), we offered 36 million affordable houses, which reflected the accelerated improvement in people's livelihood. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have been making coordinated efforts to stabilize growth, make structural adjustments, advance reform, improve people's livelihood and ward off risks, all comprehensive objectives in macro-control.

Therefore, theses indices and figures clearly show the series of reform and macro-control measures, including policy innovation and ways of implementation, unveiled in the wake of the CPC's 18th National Congress, have been rational, effective and in line with China's national condition. Thank you.

TV Asahi:

I have two questions. My first question: Will the rectification of industries with overcapacity cause further unemployment in China? Second, since the yuan has remarkably depreciated this year, I want to ask how China's economy will be impacted by a cheaper yuan.

Wang Bao'an:

I will answer your question on the yuan's depreciation first, as it has become quite a hot issue lately. As a matter of fact, the NBS did not conduct much research on this, but I would like to share with you our ideas based on its influence on the economy and on our analysis of the situation.

The yuan's depreciation was a result of two major influences. First is the appreciation of the U.S. dollar, which caused the yuan's fall. But I don't think there will be a major, or obvious, impact on China's economy as a result of the yuan's depreciation, since we have more than US$3 trillion in our forex reserves. In long term, the yuan's depreciation won't become a trend; we have confidence in China's economic growth, since the medium-high growth rate will be a new normal in China's economy in a period of time to come.

China's economy features four "no changes:" no change in the upward trend, no change in the continuous efforts for economic restructuring, no change in the environment and conditions for continued growth, as well as no change in the fact that China's economy possesses strong resilience, great potential and ample room for maneuver. In particular, the acceleration of China's industrialization and urbanization plays an obvious role in facilitating growth. Under such circumstances, the yuan's depreciation won't become a trend.

The other question you put forward is how employment will be affected by removing overcapacity. Removing excessive capacity is a representation of macro-control and how the government acts proactively. The new round of overcapacity removal will be guided by law-abiding and market-oriented principles. The market will make its own decisions based on the supply-demand relations while the government will be there mainly to reinforce the implementation of social security policies. On the one hand, it is a demand for structural optimization and upgrading and, on the other hand, certain traditional industries do have overcapacity, such as the "zombie enterprises."

Removing overcapacity in these industries indeed affects employment, which is why the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have carried out measures to ensure the social policies meet people's basic needs, macro-economic policies are stable, industrial policies are precise, microeconomic policies are flexible and reform measures are concrete. Improving employment policies, unemployment insurance policies, and in particular, policies for boosting employment are there to ensure the removal of overcapacity can be conducted smoothly without a surge in unemployment, and thus to ensure the stable and medium-high growth of China's economy. Thank you!


Just now, Mr. Wang mentioned that there have been many new industries, new business forms and new commercial models emerging in recent years. I would like to ask how the statistical system at the National Bureau of Statistics can comprehensively reflect such developments.

Wang Bao'an:

The development of "new industries, new business forms and new commercial models", or the "Three News," is one of the highlights of China's economic growth in recent years, and is also an important symbol of the country's "innovation-driven development strategy", as well as the idea of "encouraging the people to undertake business creatively and drive innovation". Strictly speaking, we cannot give a disciplinary definition to the "Three News" in scientific terms. They primarily represent industrial activities, and are business elements and new forms that have appeared in economic operations. I also noticed that some researchers have coined the phrase the "Four News" by adding "new technology." However, as "new industries, new business forms and new commercial models" already encompass the application of new technology, we stick to the "Three News" approach.

Due to the structure of statistical indicators, as well as possible loopholes in the design of our survey system, we cannot make accurate isolated calculations of developments in regard to the "Three News" in the process of industrial integration. Take some industries of strategic importance like large aircraft as an example; we cannot necessarily categorize it as an emerging industry because aircraft have a history of over a hundred years, and yet it is surely a kind of new industry of strategic importance in China. Development of industries like the manufacture of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines, which can fill the void in China and have significance in innovative development, still await a decision as to whether they fall into the category of the "Three News." However, we have some complementary indicators that signal its rapid development. For example, the growth of high-tech industries is 4.1 percentage points higher than that of industries above designated size.

Due to difficulties in making isolated calculations of the "Three News" that pose challenges to the traditional statistical methods, leaders of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council much concerned with the issue have provided clear directions on the statistical work. We have already worked out a plan and will soon issue a notice of strengthening and improving the statistical work covering the "Three News." This includes several aspects. First, to make adjustments in the sample database. The statistical work begins with work on samples. Making adjustments to the database and increasing the frequency of their replacement will avoid statistical misses and make sampling more scientific. Second, to improve the index system. A new set of well-defined statistical indicators are needed for the development of the "Three News" in order to separate converged operations from mixed ones. Third, to improve survey approaches, and increase the frequency of surveys and sampling choices for the development of the "Three News." Fourth, to increase specialized human resources in monitoring and analyzing statistics in order to reflect developments, trends, problems and recommendations for improvement of the "Three News" in a timely, comprehensive and correct manner. I am convinced that the introduction of these measures will reflect developments in regard to the "Three News" in a timely and adequate manner, mirroring implementation of the "innovation-driven development strategy", and embodying the result of "encouraging the people to do business creatively and driving innovation." Thank you all.

Hu Kaihong:

This is the end of today's conference. Thank you, Mr. Wang, Mr. Sheng and friends from the press.

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