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 development.
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 planning period.
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 previously.
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 public sector.
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 period.
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 1990.