China will maintain stable economic growth in 2019: top economic planner
China maintained steady economic growth last year despite a general downward economic trend globally, said He Lifeng, the head of China's top economic planner at the press conference held by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on Wednesday.
In 2018, China's GDP reached 90.03 trillion yuan (approximately 13.6 trillion U.S. dollars), increased 1.4 trillion yuan by 6.6 percent, representing the largest advancement in the top five big economies in the world.
Breaking the growth down to more concrete influences on people's lives, 13.61 million new jobs were created across the country, and 13.86 million people were lifted out of poverty. Besides, the currency exchange rate, foreign currency reserves, and commodities price have also been stable in 2018.
The political and economic reforms also witnessed great development in 2018, said He.
Take supply-side structural reform for example, China reached its goal in cutting overcapacity of steel and coal set up in the 13th five-year plan in advance, which in turn promoted structural reform in related industries, according to He.
The business environment in China made great improvement last year through large-scale tax cuts and reforms to delegate power, streamline administration and optimize government services, said He. China leaped from 78th to 46th in a World Bank rank on countries' business environment (in China, the rank was based on the sample of Beijing and Shanghai). The government work report issued on Tuesday launched further tax and fees cuts for companies and other measures to further improve the business environment in 2019.
Through achieved pleasing development, China's economy is also facing challenges.
"The global economy is experiencing turmoil, since China's economy is deeply intertwined with the global economy, surely China's economy, especially manufacturing industry, will be influenced by the global changes," said He. "Plus the challenges we will face as we deepen national political and economic reform, and industrial upgrading, many companies have been facing financing difficulty and increasing production cost."
The Chinese government released a series of measures to address the challenges, including the various policies of tax cuts for employees and companies, employment promotions and opening market access to foreign investment etc, released by the government reports by Premier Li Keqiang.
"After powering through last year's difficult time, I believe that Chinese companies will be more adaptable and ever stronger. The Chinese economy will also be healthier, and maintain stable growth in 2019," He said.
He also noted China will continue to stimulate the development of a robust domestic market and keep unlocking the huge potential of domestic demand to support economic development.
China's huge population, growing new economic momentum, ongoing urbanization and rising spending power of residents all point to the development of a robust domestic market, He said.
The country's domestic markets of consumer goods and means of production are gigantic given the nearly 1.4 billion population and an estimated 110 million market entities, he said.
New industries, new types of business and new business models have been rapidly growing, accounting for 15.7 percent of China's GDP last year.
Noting that the spending power of China's urban and rural residents keeps growing, he said sectors like elderly and child care, automobile, and home appliances will generate massive market opportunities.
The NDRC is implementing a raft of measures to boost consumption, he said, adding that the domestic market will keep growing with the supportive policies put in place and more high-quality products and services available.