China’s economy grew by 6.9% in 2017 according to official data – the first time in seven years the pace of growth has picked up.
The figure beats Beijing’s official annual expansion target of about 6.5%.
China is a key driver of the global economy and so the better-than-expected data is likely to cheer investors around the world.
But many China watchers believe the GDP numbers are much weaker than the official figures suggest.
This month alone, the governments of Inner Mongolia and of the large industrial city of Tianjin have admitted their economic numbers for 2016 were overstated.
Taking the figures at face value, the 2017 growth rate is China’s highest in two years. And it represents the first time the economy has expanded faster than the previous year since 2010.
However as Beijing ramps up efforts to reduce risky debt and to increase air quality, analysts said this may impact 2018 growth.
The numbers released on Thursday also showed that in the last three months of 2017, the economy grew at an annual rate of 6.8% – slightly higher than analysts had been expecting.