Please note that all the data are in 2008 US dollars

Purchasing Power Parity - China ranked 3rd in the World

$7.8 trillion (2008 est.)
$7.104 trillion (2007)
$6.475 trillion (2006)

Official Exchange Rate

$4.222 trillion (2008 est.)

Real Growth Rate - China ranked 8th in the World

9.8% (2008 est.)
13% (2007 est.)
11.6% (2006 est.)

GDP Per Capita (PPP) - China ranked 132th in the World

$6,000 (2008 est.)
$5,500 (2007 est.)
$4,900 (2006 est.)

Composition By Sector (2008 est.)

Agriculture : 11.3%
Industry : 48.6%
Services : 40.1%

Rise and Fall of GDP


Hyperinflation conquered; civil war and land reform ended: GDP up 15.6% in real terms.


So-called "Great Leap Forward" devastated agriculture: result was falling GDP in 1960-62. (Figures for 1958-59 highly suspect, as the statistical network was largely destroyed in the "Leap", when absurdly high increases in output were reported by frightened local officials.)


Partial restoration of market economy in the countryside promoted faster growth of agriculture.


Production undermined by the so-called "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution", that was initiated by Mao in mid-1966 and effectively ended by People's Liberation Army intervention in 1968.


High growth rates followed the restoration of order after the "Cultural Revolution".


Widespread earthquakes, including the worst ever at Tangshan, hit industrial centres, while agricultural output was hit by drought; policy paralysis resulted from the anti-Deng campaign, followed by Mao's death and the arrest of the Gang of Four. GDP fell.


Smashing the communes and restoring family farming jacked up agricultural (especially grain) output.


Double-digit real GDP growth accompanied the first wave of foreign investment into China, and non-state enterprises started to develop.


Growth slowed after the government braked the overheating economy following an aborted effort at wholesale price reform in 1988 which resulted in panic buying and runaway inflation. Price stability was achieved by cancelling large fixed investment projects, slowing domestic demand. Foreign investment fell off after the Beijing Massacre of June 1989.


Deng Xiaoping's Southern Tour at the beginning of the year massively boosted foreign direct investment inflows into coastal areas and started a wave of government investment in Shanghai. Record trade and GDP growth and inflation followed.


Zhu Rongji appointed to rein in the overheating economy, this time more selectively than in 1989-91. Growth rates subsided gradually in subsequent years, producing a so-called "soft landing". During the 1990s, living standards continued to rise, as evidenced by the proliferation of consumer durables, especially among the urban population. Continuing FDI inflows helped boost foreign exchange reserves to record heights in the late 1990s.

Especially after the publication of the 1998 GDP figures, economists, both in China and abroad, have raised serious doubts about the quality of China's national accounts, which appeared in the late 1990s to overstate economic growth and are now suspected of understating growth. This may be because the statistical system tends to overestimate output at the trough of the cycle and underestimate output at the peak. However, the country's first production census discovered at the end of 2005 that GDP has recently been grossly underestimated as a result of a failure to take into account the rapid growth of the services sector. As a result, growth rates for 2003-2005 are now recorded at around 10% per year in real terms. Despite efforts to cool the overheating economy, the officially recorded GDP growth rate was 11.4% in 2007.

In 2008 the global economic crisis began to reduce China's growth rate. In the face of forecasts that this might drop below the rate at which school leavers can be absorbed by the growing economy (7%-8%) the government decided to pump Rmb 4 trillion into the economy in the form of an economic stimulus package consisting largely of investment in fixed infrastucture and human capital. While Rmb 4 trillion is a substantial proportion of GDP, it is not clear if all of it is new money or if the package includes existing spending plans.