BEIJING, July 3 (Xinhua) -- China's economy, though facing headwinds, showed steady growth signalling high quality development in the first half of 2019, as the country's economic structure continued to optimize.
"China's economy has remained basically stable and is performing within a reasonable range in the first half of the year," Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday when addressing the opening ceremony of the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2019, also known as the Summer Davos Forum, in the city of Dalian.
The economic development has stayed stable and sound, and major indicators have met expectations, Li added.
"China's economic growth has so far remained resilient in the face of high global uncertainty," World Bank said in its latest China Economic Update.
DEMAND OPTIMIZATION ONWARD
In the first five months of 2019, China's foreign trade of goods rose 4.1 percent year on year to reach 12.1 trillion yuan (1.8 trillion U.S. dollars), customs data showed, reporting strong resilience and more balanced structure.
Of the total, foreign trade with countries along the Belt and Road increased by 9 percent to account for 28.8 percent, while foreign trade with the EU, ASEAN, Russia and Brazil saw growth of 11.7 percent, 9.4 percent, 10 percent and 11.2 percent respectively.
At the same time, investments in high-tech manufacturing and technological transformation are becoming an important driving force for the growth of manufacturing investment.
During the Jan.-May period, high-tech manufacturing investment increased by 10.2 percent year on year, exceeding the growth rate of all manufacturing investment by 7.5 percentage points, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.
The country showed its market dynamics through strong sales of imported brands and high-quality products during an online shopping festival in June.
Data from China's e-commerce giant JD showed that its turnover of fresh imported goods increased by three times compared to a year ago on June 4, highlighting urban and rural residents' continued consumption upgrades.
In recent years, neighboring economies such as ASEAN and South Korea have become increasingly dependent on the Chinese market, and China has become an important demand generator and contributor for the global market, said Bi Jiyao, deputy director of the Academy of Macroeconomic Research.
"From external-demand-oriented to domestic market-driven, China's economic rebalancing has made significant progress," Bi said.
GROWTH ENGINE SHIFTED
The role that technological innovation plays in economic development has been enhanced since the beginning of the year, with solid progress made in restructuring industries.
In May, the added value of high-tech manufacturing grew by 9.4 percent year on year, which was 4.4 percentage points higher than that of all industrial enterprises above designated size, NBS data showed, with accelerated growth of medical instrumentation, aviation and spacecraft.
In the first three months of the year, the Jiangbei New Area of east China's Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, has attracted some 2,800 talents from overseas to work there. Within the year, the area is expected to have over 300 new high-tech firms.
China has rolled out a series of policies in the first half of the year to deepen reform, cut tax and fees, enhance the ability of financial service to serve the real economy, so as to improve the business environment.
In the first five months, newly-introduced tax and fee cuts have increased markedly, amounting to a total of 893 billion yuan, according to the State Administration of Taxation.
Total foreign investment actually utilized in the first five months stood at 369.06 billion yuan, up 6.8 percent year on year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
"Despite of many unfavorable factors including world trade uncertainties, China has, via a slew of measures, maintained its steady growth momentum, " said Mao Xuxin, principal economist at London-based independent research institute, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
With a huge market, abundant human resources, a complete industrial cluster and prospering new engines, the economy has sufficient resilience, potential and room for manoeuver, while its long-term positive trend remains unchanged, according to the Chinese premier.