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GDP Growth Set to Reach 8%
Growth in China's gross domestic product (GDP) is predicted to surge to a year-on-year 8 per cent in 2002, bolstered mainly by a vigorous private investment binge and robust household consumption in cars and housing.

The Economic Forecast Department of the State Information Center (SIC) said yesterday that GDP is set to reach 10.217 trillion yuan (US$1.235 trillion) this year.

The SIC added that per capita GDP in China should reach US$961 this year, an increase of US$50 over last year.

But what has cheered Chinese the most is not the strong economy, which has been steaming ahead for a few years now. Rather, experts and officials are delighted by the fact that the growth has been mostly because of a rapid expansion in private capital, a new economic engine to be reckoned with.

"A new phase is dawning. The economy is now powered concurrently by governmental policy and market vitality," said Qiu Xiaohua, deputy director of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Qiu added this is an improvement compared to growth in past years, which is mainly a result of the State's massive investment stimulus plans using treasury bonds and other methods.

Official data from the NBS indicates that private investment rose at an 18 per cent clip in the first 10 months of this year, doubling the pace of the same period last year.

And the total sum of private funds is rapidly closing the gap with that of State investment.

Robust growth in the nation's consumption is also expected to buoy China's economy. Leading the wave are purchasing crazes in telecommunications, automobiles and housing products.

Auto sales in the past 10 months chalked up a sharp increase of 50 per cent year-on-year. Sales of household electronic appliances like mobile phones, PCs, TV sets and DVD players posted a 62 per cent rise in the first three quarters.

Moreover, some economists say China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) late last year also gave the economy a strong boost.

Zhang Liqun, an economist from the State Council Development Research Center, predicted that starting from this year, China will jump onto a platform where 8 per cent annual GDP growth is within reach.

(China Daily December 9, 2002)

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