China's real economic growth started in 1978 after decades of political turmoil. Deng Xiaoping, the paramount leader in the 1980s and 1990s, launched the so-called opening up policy in a bid to turn the centrally planned economy into a market economy that would gradually open up to the rest of the world economy.

GDP and Its Makeup
China has become the world's second largest economy after its GDP has grown 10% annually on average over the past 30 years. Its GDP reached RMB51.93 trillion in 2012, up 7.8% from the year before and about 96 times the amount recorded 30 years earlier. The secondary sector took accounted for over 45% of GDP in 2012. The fraction of the agricultural sector has declined to 10% and the service sector was approximating 45% of GDP. Despite a huge amount of total economic output, China's per capital GDP averaged $5,447 in 2011, ranking 88th worldwide.

Employment and Income
There are more than 760 million people working in China, with the agricultural, secondary and service sectors employing 36.7%, 28.7% and 34.6% of them respectively. Registered urban unemployment rate stood at 4.1% as of the end of 2011. Disposable income per person was RMB14,582 in 2011, compared to RMB12,508 in 2010 and RMB4,059 a decade earlier. Urban disposable income per person was RMB21,810 in 2011, compared to RMB19,109 in 2010 and RMB6,860 a decade earlier.

Foreign Trade
China is the world's largest exporter and the second largest importer. Bilateral trade rose 22.5% to $3.64 trillion in 2011, including $1.9 trillion worth of exports and $1.74 trillion worth of imports, which were up 20.3% and 24.9% respectively from the year before. Major exports were textiles, machinery and electronics; major imports were hi-tech products and commodities like oil and iron ore.

Economic Outlook
China's economic expansion slowed to 7.7% during the first three quarters of 2012, the slowest pace in three years, as the export-driven economy was hit hard by slack overseas demand. Rising labor and raw material costs and tougher environmental regulations resulting in factory closures were also behind the downturn. Seeing the susceptibility to external factors, the government is trying to stimulate consumer spending as a sustainable backbone of future growth.

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