China, economically extremely backward before 1949, has become one of the world's major economic powers with the greatest potential, and the overall living standard has reached that of a fairly well-off society. In the 22 years following reform and opening-up in 1979 in particular, China's economy developed at an unprecedented rate, and that momentum has been held steady into the 21st century. In 2004, the government further strengthened and improved its macro control, and the economy entered its best ever development period of recent years. The gross domestic product (GDP) for 2004 amounted to 13,687.59 billion yuan, 9.5 percent higher than the previous year.
China adopts the "five-year-plan" strategy for economic development. The 9th Five-Year Plan (1996-2000) was outstandingly successful, and the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-2005) mapped out the first plan for the new century, setting these main targets:
-- Sustaining fairly rapid growth, strategic restructuring, improving the quality and benefits of economic growth so as to lay firm foundations for doubling the 2000 GDP by 2010; substantial perfection of the socialist market economy and putting state-owned enterprises on a modern enterprise footing, thus allowing greater participation in international cooperation and competition.
-- GDP to reach some 12,500 billion yuan, and per capita GDP 9,400 yuan by 2005 (at 2000 prices assuming annual economic growth of around 7 percent). A marked improvement in quality of life, with 5 percent annual growth in the disposable income of urban residents and in the net income of rural residents; keeping the registered urban unemployment rate stable at around 5 percent; maintaining generally stable prices and basically balancing international revenue and expenditure.
-- Optimizing and upgrading the industrial structure to sharpen China's competitive edge. By 2005, the added value of the primary, secondary and tertiary industries will account for 13 percent, 51 percent and 36 percent, respectively, of GDP; employing 44 percent, 23 percent and 33 percent, respectively, of the labor force. Further improvement to infrastructure; increased urbanization and bringing the widening development disparity between regions under effective control.
Most of these targets have already been achieved ahead of schedule. At present, the government is drafting the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010).