10 highlights of Chinese economy in H1 of 2023

(People's Daily Online) 17:38, August 30, 2023

This aerial photo taken on July 19, 2023 shows a ship berthing at a cargo terminal of Tangshan Port in Tangshan, north China's Hebei Province. (Xinhua/Yang Shiyao)

China's GDP increased by 5.5 percent year on year in the first half of 2023, being among the top performers worldwide.

The Chinese economy has strong resilience, tremendous potential and great vitality, and the fundamentals sustaining China's long-term growth will remain unchanged. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, presided over a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on July 24 to analyze the current economic situation and make arrangements for economic work in the second half of the year.

1. Exports of new "three major ones" grow remarkably

The exports of new "three major ones," namely electric vehicles, lithium-ion batteries and solar batteries, registered a 61.6 percent increase in the first half of this year. Together, they contributed 1.8 percentage points to the overall export growth.

On July 3, China's 20 millionth new energy vehicle rolled off the production line in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province. It took 27 years for the country to produce the first 10 million new energy vehicles and just 17 months to produce the second 10 million.

2. Real economy prospers

The real economy is the foundation underpinning China's economy. China supplies 50 percent of the wind power equipment and 80 percent of the photovoltaic module equipment in the world, greatly lowering the costs of utilizing regenerative resources.

Many events and facts have shown that China has fostered a strong real economy, including China's first domestically built large cruise ship completing its first sea trial, the delivery of the world's largest river-sea intermodal LNG carrier, and the new progress made in building a modern industrial system that is independent, controllable, safe, reliable, and highly competitive.

3. China advances green development

Promoting well-coordinated environmental conservation and avoiding excessive development is a philosophy that China always upholds in advancing green development. In Yidu county, central China's Hubei Province, chemical factories were moved away from the Yangtze River. In Yueyang city of central China's Hunan Province, fishermen turned into fish guardians. In Tongling city of east China's Anhui Province, the Yangtze River finless porpoises were spotted in the Yangtze River again. In the first half of the year, the share of good air quality days in China remained high. The proportion of sections with Grade I-III surface water increased by 2.1 percentage points year on year. Energy consumption per unit of GDP fell by 0.4 percent year on year.

4. Domestic box office soars, cultural and tourism sectors see burgeoning growth

China's box office soared 52.9 percent year on year in the first half of this year, and the number of moviegoers increased by 51.8 percent. As of Aug. 18, total box office receipts in the summer of 2023 reached 17.8 billion yuan. Total retail sales of consumer goods rose 7.3 percent year on year in the first seven months, while retail sales of services rose 20.3 percent. The soaring box office and consumption in the cultural and tourism sectors mirror the burgeoning growth of the cultural and tourism sectors and the vitality of the domestic consumption market.

5. China-Europe freight train services inject new vitality into opening up

On July 29, the 10,000th China-Europe freight train this year departed from Yiwu in east China's Zhejiang Province. In the first seven months of this year, China's trade with countries along the Belt and Road amounted to 8.06 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion), jumping 7.4 percent year on year. China's trade with ASEAN stood at 3.59 trillion yuan during the same period, up 2.8 percent.

6. China's economic performance indicative of strength, resilience

China's total production of summer grain this year reached 146.15 billion kg, with the production of early-season rice growing by 0.8 percent. In the first seven months of this year, the total added value of industrial enterprises above the designated size increased 3.8 percent year-on-year. In the first half of the year, China added 6.78 million new jobs to the labor market in urban regions, and the per capita disposable income rose 5.8 percent from the previous year.

The second C919 aircraft, China's first homegrown large jetliner, began commercial operations. The first F-class 50 MW heavy-duty gas turbine was officially commissioned. The amphibious aircraft "Kunlong" is capable of conducting firefighting missions. China has maintained its position as the second largest economy and the largest industrialized country in the world. The size of its manufacturing industry has ranked first in the world for 13 consecutive years.

7. Chinese economy shows enormous potential, vigor

In the Suyin Industrial Park in Yinchuan city, northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, construction of an energy storage project with a total investment of over 30 billion yuan was underway. By learning the experience of the Suzhou Industrial Park in Suzhou city, east China's Jiangsu Province, the Suyin Industrial Park is building a cluster of the clean energy industry valued at over 100 billion yuan. China has made remarkable progress in promoting coordinated development between different regions. In 2012, the country's central and western regions accounted for 21.3 percent and 19.6 percent of national GDP, respectively, and by 2022, those figures increased to 22.1 percent and 21.4 percent, respectively.

Airbus will build its second production line in Tianjin, BMW's sixth-generation power battery project is well underway in Shenyang, and the number of foreign-invested enterprise increased by 35.7 percent in the first half of this year. As of now, China has 12,000 "little giant" firms, i.e., those representing the novel elites of small and medium-sized enterprises that specialize in a niche market, boast cutting-edge technologies, and show great potential.

8. Increase in core CPI is basically stable

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.7 percent year on year in the first half of the year. In July, CPI rose 0.2 percent from the previous month, turning positive for the first time in almost six months. It fell 0.3 percent after staying flat the previous month.

9. Grain security, energy supply firmly guaranteed

China aims to keep grain planting areas above 1.77 billion mu (118 million hectares). Energy is the "fuel" for industrial development. China has made efforts to stabilize coal production, and explore and develop petroleum and natural gas, discover more untapped reserves, and increase production, building a diversified clean energy supply system.

China owns a complete industrial system, mature capacity to support industrial development, and increasingly mature infrastructure network. In the first half of the year, the production of 331 categories of industrial products achieved growth, among 620 major categories of industrial products. This laid a solid foundation for stabilizing commodity prices and played a constructive role in stabilizing commodity prices worldwide.

10. Imports, exports achieve growth despite pressure

China's goods imports and exports exceeded 20 trillion yuan in the January-June period of 2023. It is the first time China's goods imports and exports exceeded that figure in the January-June period.

In the first half of the year, the Zhoushan Port in Ningbo city handled 679 million tonnes of cargo, up 6 percent year on year. In 2022, the port ranked first globally for the 14th consecutive year.

Against the backdrop of a lack of robust driving forces for global growth, the Chinese economy has moved forward amid challenges, bringing certainty to an uncertain world through its sustained and steady development. Since the second quarter of this year, the country's monthly trade has remained above 3.4 trillion yuan.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Du Mingming)


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