March 01, 2021 | Issue 2021-12| Click to Subscribe
China's economic and social progress in 2020
Braving the virus test and challenges in domestic and international situations, the Chinese economy ended 2020 on solid footing, becoming the only major economy to achieve positive growth in the pandemic-ravaged year.

Here are some related facts and figures from the Statistical Communiqué of the People's Republic of China on the 2020 National Economic and Social Development (full text) released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Feb 28.
  • GDP grew 2.3 percent year-on-year to hit 101.6 trillion yuan (about $15.7 trillion) in 2020. From a 6.8-percent contraction in Q1, 3.2-percent expansion in Q2, 4.9-percent recovery in Q3 to a 6.5-percent rebound in Q4, the V-shaped trajectory made China the only major economy to log positive growth. Based on the weighted average exchange rates for the year, China's economy is now tipped to command around 17 percent of the global economy.

  • The annual per capita GDP is expected to stand at 72,447 yuan ($11,190) for 2020, an increase of 2 percent over the previous year.
  • New economic drivers continued to grow, with the tertiary industry accounting for 54.5 percent of GDP.

  • Consumption remained the overriding growth engine fueling the economy, although retail sales of consumer goods, a major indicator of consumption growth, edged down 3.9 percent compared to the previous year.
China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 2.5 percent year-on-year in 2020.
The producer price index (PPI), which measures the cost of goods at the factory gate, fell 1.8 percent.
  • A total of 11.86 million new urban jobs were created in the whole year, with the surveyed urban unemployment rate at 5.2 percent by the end of 2020.

  • China's foreign exchange reserves expanded to $3.2165 trillion at the end of 2020. Yuan's average exchange rate against the US dollar came in at 6.8974, appreciating 0.02 percent from a year earlier.

  • China lifted its remaining 5.51 million impoverished rural residents out of poverty in 2020. Per capita disposable income of rural residents in poverty-stricken areas stood at 12,588 yuan, a 5.6-percent year-on-year rise in real terms after deducting price factors.

  • Of the 337 monitored cities, 59.9 percent saw air quality up to standards.

  • China's grain output reached nearly 670 billion kilograms in 2020, up 5.65 billion kg or 0.9 percent from a year earlier.

  • China's foreign trade rose 1.5 percent to $4.65 trillion in 2020, helped by its recovered manufacturing production sector. Exports came in at $2.59 trillion last year with a 3.6-percent growth year on year, while imports were down 1.1 percent, standing at $2.06 trillion.
  • Foreign direct investment into the Chinese mainland, in actual use, expanded 6.2 percent year-on-year to about 1 trillion yuan in 2020.

  • Research and development expenditure increased 10.3 percent to over 2.44 trillion yuan, accounting for 2.4 percent of GDP.

  • The number of successful space launches came in at 35, including China's Chang'e 5 probe that brought back lunar samples.

  • Property investment rose 7 percent in 2020 from a year earlier, gathering pace from the 6.8-percent increase in the first 11 months. Fixed-asset investment notched up a gain of 2.9 percent for the full year, versus expectations for a 3.2 percent gain.

  • Sales of new energy vehicles picked up 17.3 percent year on year in 2020 to reach 1.45 million thanks to the government's stimulus package and rosy market sentiment.