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China's GDP grows 10.3% in 2010

China's economy grew 10.3 percent last year, up from 9.2 percent in 2009, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced Thursday.

Gross domestic product (GDP) hit 39.8 trillion yuan (6.05 trillion U.S. dollars) last year, up 10.3 percent year on year calculating at comparable prices, Ma Jiantang, director of the NBS, told a press conference Thursday.

In the fourth quarter, GDP growth picked up to 9.8 percent year on year from 9.6 percent in the third quarter, after slowing from 11.9 percent in the first quarter and 10.3 percent in the second.

"In the past year, China has consolidated and boosted its recovery from the global financial crisis, and the national economy is generally operating well," Ma said.

"The country is at a key stage of turning recovery into stable growth," he said.

The government set the full-year growth target at 8 percent in early 2010, after the economy recovered from the global economic downturn in 2009.

Breaking the figures down, the value-added of the primary sector topped 4.05 trillion yuan in 2010, up 4.3 percent year on year; that of the industrial sector jumped to 18.6 trillion yuan, up 12.2 percent year on year; and that of the tertiary sector, or services sector, rose to 17.1 trillion yuan, up 9.5 percent year on year.

"The past year had been an extraordinary year for China's development," said Ma, noting that the country had dealt with many challenges, including a complicated domestic and global economic conditions and natural disasters.

The Chinese government strived to achieve stable growth and prevent the economy overheating last year as the global economy remained "unbalanced and uncoordinated," he explained.

It strived to keep macro-economic policy "consistent and stable" while making it more "targeted and flexible," to cope with the changing economic conditions, he added.

Zhang Liqun, a research fellow with the Development Research Center of the State Council, said China's economic situation last year continued to improve and is now on the track of stable growth. Zhu Baoliang, deputy director of the Economic Forecast Department of the State Information Center, described the country's economic performance in 2010 as "stable."

Zhu expects China's economic growth to slow a little this year, due to the government's change in monetary policy stance designed to curb inflation.

China's consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, rose 4.6 percent in December year on year and 3.3 percent for the whole year of 2010, the NBS said.

The government said in December it will shift its monetary policy stance from relatively loose to prudent in 2011.

The two experts said the market has played a greater role in boosting the economy, as the government's economic stimulus program comes to an end.

China launched a 4-trillion-yuan economic stimulus package two years ago in response to the international financial crisis.