SCIO briefing on China's economic performance in 2022
Beijing | 10 a.m. Jan. 17, 2023

The State Council Information Office held a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday about China's economic performance in 2022.


Kang Yi, commissioner of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)

Fu Linghui, spokesperson of the NBS and director general of the Department of Comprehensive Statistics of the NBS


Shou Xiaoli, deputy director general of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) and spokesperson of the SCIO

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Kang Yi, commissioner of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)

Fu Linghui, spokesperson of the NBS and director general of the Department of Comprehensive Statistics of the NBS


Shou Xiaoli, deputy director general of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) and spokesperson of the SCIO


Jan. 17, 2023

Shou Xiaoli:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference held by the State Council Information Office (SCIO). Today, we are joined by Mr. Kang Yi, commissioner of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), who will introduce the situation and answer your questions. We also have with us Mr. Fu Linghui, spokesperson of the NBS and director general of the Department of Comprehensive Statistics of the NBS. 

Now, I'll give the floor to Mr. Kang for a brief introduction.

Kang Yi:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good morning! Welcome to today's press conference. It's a great pleasure to meet you. I'll begin by introducing China's economic performance in 2022 and then answer your questions.

In 2022, faced with challenges of high winds and choppy waters in the global environment as well as arduous tasks to advance reform, promote development, and maintain stability at home, under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, all regions and departments strictly implemented the decisions and arrangements made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, adhered to the general working guideline of making progress while maintaining stability, coordinated the work of epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development in an effective way, and responded to the internal and external challenges effectively. As a result, the national economy continued to develop despite downward pressure, the economic output reached a new level, employment and prices were generally stable, people's lives were continuously improved, new achievements were secured in high-quality development, and the overall economic and social development was stable and healthy.

According to preliminary estimates, the gross domestic product (GDP) was 121,020.7 billion yuan in 2022, an increase of 3% over last year at constant prices. Looking at industries at various levels, the value added of the primary industry was 8,834.5 billion yuan, up by 4.1% over last year; the value added of the secondary industry was 48,316.4 billion yuan, up by 3.8%; and the value added of the tertiary industry was 63,869.8 billion yuan, up by 2.3%. In terms of quarterly data, the GDP in the first quarter was up 4.8% year on year, up 0.4% in the second quarter, up 3.9% in the third quarter, and up 2.9% in the fourth quarter. The quarter-on-quarter growth of GDP in the fourth quarter stayed the same as in the third quarter.

First, the grain output increased and production of animal husbandry grew steadily. 

The total output of grain in 2022 was 686.53 million metric tons, an increase of 3.68 million metric tons over the previous year, or up by 0.5%. Of this total, the output of summer grain was 147.4 million metric tons, up by 1%, and that of early rice was 28.12 million metric tons, up by 0.4%. The output of autumn grain reached 511 million metric tons, up by 0.4%. By species, the output of rice was 208.49 million metric tons, down by 2%; wheat, 137.72 million metric tons, up by 0.6%; corn, 277.2 million metric tons, up by 1.7%; soybeans, 20.28 million metric tons, up by 23.7%. The output of oil-bearing crops was 36.53 million metric tons, up by 1.1%. The total output of pork, beef, mutton, and poultry in 2022 was 92.27 million metric tons, up by 3.8% over the previous year. Of this total, the output of pork was 55.41 million metric tons, up by 4.6%; beef, 7.18 million metric tons, up by 3%; mutton, 5.25 million metric tons, up by 2%; poultry, 24.43 million metric tons, up by 2.6%. The production of milk reached 39.32 million metric tons, up by 6.8% and that of eggs stood at 34.56 million metric tons, up by 1.4%. At the end of 2022, 452.56 million pigs were in stock, up by 0.7%, and 699.95 million pig were slaughtered in 2022, up by 4.3%.

Second, industrial production experienced sustained development, and high-tech manufacturing and equipment manufacturing grew by leaps and bounds. 

The total value added of industrial enterprises above the designated size increased by 3.6% over the previous year. In terms of sectors, the value added of mining was up by 7.3%, the value of manufacturing went up by 3%, and the value of production and supply of electricity, thermal power, gas, and water increased by 5%. The value added of the high-tech manufacturing and equipment manufacturing went up by 7.4% and 5.6%, respectively, 3.8 percentage points and 2 percentage points faster than the value added of industrial enterprises above the designated size. In terms of ownership, the value added of state holding enterprises grew by 3.3%, that of the share-holding enterprises went up by 4.8%, that of the enterprises funded by foreign investors and investors from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan dropped by 1%, and that of private enterprises grew by 2.9%. By products, the production of new energy vehicles, mobile communication base stations, and industrial control computer and system grew by 97.5%, 16.3%, and 15%, respectively. In December, the total value added of the industrial enterprises above the designated size grew by 1.3% year on year, up by 0.06% month on month. In the first 11 months, the total profits made by industrial enterprises above the designated size were 7,718 billion yuan, down by 3.6% year on year.

Third, the service sector sustained its recovery with modern service industries demonstrating a sound momentum of growth. 

The value added of services went up by 2.3% year on year in 2022. The value added of information transmission, software, and information technology services and that of financial services grew by 9.1% and 5.6%, respectively. In December, the Index of Services Production went down by 0.8% year on year, the decline narrowed by 1.1 percentage points compared with that of the previous month. In the first 11 months, the business revenue of service enterprises above the designated size grew by 3.9% year on year, of which the revenues of the information transmission, software, and information technology services, scientific research and technology services, and health and social services went up by 8.3%, 8.3%, and 8.1%, respectively.

Fourth, the scale of market sales was basically stable with sales of basic living goods and online retail sales growing at a fast pace. 

In 2022, the total retail sales of consumer goods reached 43,973.3 billion yuan, down by 0.2% over the previous year. Analyzing by different areas, the retail sales in urban areas reached 38,044.8 billion yuan, down by 0.3%. The retail sales in rural areas stood at 5,928.5 billion yuan, the same as that of the previous year. Grouped by consumption patterns, retail sales totaled 39,579.2 billion yuan, up by 0.5%, and the revenue of food and beverage amounted to 4,394.1 billion yuan, down by 6.3%. Spending on basic living goods increased steadily, with the retail sales of grain, oil, and food and that of beverages by enterprises above the designated size growing by 8.7% and 5.3%, respectively, over the previous year. In 2022, the national online retail sales reached 13,785.3 billion yuan, growing by 4% over 2021. Specifically, the online retail sales of physical goods totaled 11,964.2 billion yuan, up by 6.2%, accounting for 27.2% of the total retail sales of consumer goods. In December, the total retail sales of consumer goods went down by 1.8% year on year, a decline narrowed by 4.1 percentage points than that of the previous month and a month-on-month decline of 0.14%.

Fifth, investment in fixed assets increased steadily, and investment in high-tech industries maintained a good momentum of growth.

In 2022, investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households) reached 57,213.8 billion yuan, up by 5.1% over the previous year. Specifically, infrastructure investment went up by 9.4%, manufacturing investment grew by 9.1%, and investment in real estate development declined by 10%. The floor space of commercial buildings sold reached 1,358.37 million square meters, down by 24.3%. The total sales of commercial buildings was 13,330.8 billion yuan, down by 26.7%. By industries, the investment in the primary, secondary, and tertiary industries went up by 0.2%, 10.3%, and 3%, respectively. Private investment went up by 0.9%. Investment in high-tech industries grew by 18.9%, 13.8 percentage points faster than total investment growth. Specifically, investment in high-tech manufacturing and high-tech services grew by 22.2% and 12.1%, respectively. Among investments in high-tech manufacturing, those in manufacturing of medical equipment, measuring instruments and meters grew by 27.6%, and electronics and communication equipment manufacturing grew by 27.2%. In terms of high-tech services, investment in services for transformation of scientific and technological achievements and investment in research, development, and design services went up by 26.4% and 19.8%, respectively. Investment in the social sector went up by 10.9%. Specifically, investments in health and education went up by 27.3% and 5.4%, respectively. In December, investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households) grew by 0.49% month on month.

Six, import and export of goods grew fast, and the trade structure continued to receive optimization.

In 2022, the total value of import and export of goods was 42,067.8 billion yuan, an increase of 7.7% over last year. The total value of export was 23,965.4 billion yuan, up by 10.5%; the total value of import was 18,102.4 billion yuan, up by 4.3%. The country registered a trade surplus of 5,863 billion yuan. The import and export of general trade goods increased by 11.5%, accounting for 63.7% of the total value of import and export, an increase of 2.2 percentage points compared with last year. The import and export of private enterprises grew by 12.9%, accounting for 50.9% of the total value of import and export, 2.3 percentage points higher than that of last year. The import and export of mechanical and electrical products grew by 2.5%, accounting for 49.1% of the total value of import and export. In December, the total value of import and export of goods was 3,771.3 billion yuan, up by 0.6% year on year. Specifically, the total value of imports was 1,610.6 billion yuan, up by 2.2%, the total value of exports was 2,160.7 billion yuan, down by 0.5%. 

Seventh, consumer price saw mild growth, and growth of producer prices for industrial products went down.

In 2022, the consumer price index (CPI) went up by 2% over last year. Grouped by commodity categories, prices of food, tobacco, and alcohol went up by 2.4%; prices of clothing grew by 0.5%; housing prices increased by 0.7%; prices of articles and services for daily use went up by 1.2%; transportation and communication prices were up by 5.2%; prices of education, culture, and recreation grew by 1.8%; medical services and health care prices went up by 0.6%; and prices of other articles and services increased by 1.6%. In terms of food, tobacco, and alcohol prices, pork went down by 6.8%, grain up by 2.8%, fresh vegetables up by 2.8%, and fresh fruits up by 12.9%. Core CPI excluding the prices of food and energy went up by 0.9%. In December, consumer prices went up by 1.8% year on year, and maintained the same level of growth month on month. In 2022, producer prices for industrial products went up by 4.1% over last year. It went down by 0.7% year on year in December, and down by 0.5% month on month. The purchasing prices for industrial producers went up by 6.1% over last year, and in December, it went up by 0.3% year on year, and down by 0.4% month on month.

Eight, employment was generally stable, and surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas dropped slightly.

In 2022, 12.06 million people in urban areas became newly employed, exceeding the expected annual goal of 11 million. In December, the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas was 5.5%, 0.2 percentage point lower than the previous month. The surveyed unemployment rate of people with local household registrations was 5.4%, and that of people with non-local household registration was 5.7%. The surveyed unemployment rate of people with non-local agricultural household registration stood at 5.4%. Specifically, the surveyed unemployment rate of the people aged from 16 to 24 was 16.7%, 0.4 percentage point lower than that of the previous month; that of people aged from 25 to 59 was 4.8%, 0.2 percentage point lower than that of the previous month. The urban surveyed unemployment rate in 31 major cities was 6.1%, 0.6 percentage point lower than that of the previous month. The employees of enterprises worked 47.9 hours per week on average. In 2022, the number of rural migrant workers totaled 295.62 million, 3.11 million more than that of last year, up by 1.1%. Specifically, 123.72 million of them were local migrant workers working in the vicinity of their place of home, up by 2.4%; while 171.9 million worked at more distant places in their home province or in regions far away, up by 0.1%. The average monthly income of migrant workers was 4,615 yuan, up by 4.1% over last year.

Ninth, resident income grew generally at the same pace as economic growth, and income of rural residents grew faster than that of urban residents.

In 2022, the nationwide per capita disposable income of residents was 36,883 yuan, a nominal increase of 5% over that of last year, and a real increase of 2.9% after deducting price factors, which was generally at the same pace with the growth of the economy. In terms of permanent residents, the per capita disposable income of urban households was 49,283 yuan, a nominal growth of 3.9% and a real growth of 1.9% after deducting price factors. The per capita disposable income of rural households was 20,133 yuan, a nominal growth of 6.3% and a real growth of 4.2% after deducting price factors. The median of the nationwide per capita disposable income was 31,370 yuan, a nominal increase of 4.7% over that of last year. Taking the per capita disposable income of nationwide households by income quintile, that of the low-income group reached 8,601 yuan, the lower-middle income group 19,303 yuan, the middle income group 30,598 yuan, the upper-middle income group 47,397 yuan, and the high income group 90,116 yuan. In 2022, the nationwide per capita consumption expenditure was 24,538 yuan, a nominal growth of 1.8%, or a real decline of 0.2% after deducting price factors.

Tenth, total population declined and urbanization rate continued to grow.

By the end of 2022, the national population was 1,411.75 million (including the population of 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities, as well as military service personnel, but excluding residents of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan and foreign nationals residing in the 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities), a decrease of 0.85 million over that at the end of 2021. In 2022, the number of births was 9.56 million with a birth rate of 6.77‰; the number of deaths was 10.41 million with a mortality rate of 7.37‰; the natural population growth rate was minus 0.6‰. In terms of gender, the male population was 722.06 million, and the female population was 689.69 million; the sex ratio of the total population was 104.69 males to 100 females. In terms of age structure, the population in the working age group from 16 to 59 was 875.56 million, accounting for 62% of the total population; the population aged 60 and over was 280.04 million, accounting for 19.8% of the total; the population aged 65 and over was 209.78 million, accounting for 14.9% of the total. In terms of urban-rural structure, permanent residents in urban areas totaled 920.71 million, an increase of 6.46 million over the end of the previous year; and permanent residents in rural areas amounted to 491.04 million, a decrease of 7.31 million. The share of urban population in the total population (urbanization rate) was 65.22%, 0.5 percentage point higher than that at the end of the previous year.

Generally speaking, positive results have been achieved in effectively coordinating COVID-19 prevention and control and economic and social development in 2022, with stabilized macroeconomic performance, continuously expanded economic output, and steadily improved development quality. However, the foundation of domestic economic recovery is not solid as the international situation is still complicated and severe, while the domestic triple pressure of demand contraction, supply shock, and weakening expectations is still looming. In the next stage, we must take Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as the guideline, fully implement the guiding principles of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China as well as the decisions and arrangements made by the Central Economic Work Conference, make economic stability our top priority, and pursue progress while ensuring stability. We will better coordinate epidemic prevention and control with economic and social development, ensure better coordination in pursuing development and upholding security, deepen reform and opening-up in all respects, boost market confidence and stabilize growth, employment, and prices, so as to promote overall improvement of economic performance, and achieve effective enhancement of quality and reasonable growth of quantity.

That's all for my introduction. Thank you.

Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you for your introduction, Mr. Kang. Now we will open the floor for questions. Please identify the media outlet you represent before raising a question.



China's economy was affected by multiple factors beyond expectations in 2022, including the international situation, domestic COVID-19 outbreaks, high temperatures and drought. What's your view on the performance of China's economy in 2022? Moreover, China's GDP surpassed 120 trillion yuan in 2022, so what does that mean for the Chinese economy? Thank you.

Kang Yi:

Thank you for your questions. It is indeed very important to review the past year. In 2022, we faced profound changes and a pandemic, both unseen in a century, the geopolitical situation was volatile and unstable, and downward risks in the global economy increased. Meanwhile, the domestic economy was affected by multiple factors beyond expectations, including sporadic resurgences of COVID-19 and extremely high temperatures. Moreover, the triple pressure of demand contraction, supply shocks and weakening expectations continued to evolve. Furthermore, the environment for development became more complicated, challenging and uncertain. Confronted with a complex and volatile international environment and formidable tasks in promoting reform, development, and stability at home, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core united and led the whole Party and Chinese people of all ethnic groups in rising to these challenges head-on and dealing with them calmly, considering both domestic and international dynamics, coordinating the COVID-19 response with socioeconomic development, ensuring both development and security, and stepping up macro regulation, and as the result, the impact of factors beyond expectation has been handled effectively, the overall performance of the macroeconomy has been stabilized, new achievements have been made in high-quality development, people's basic living needs have been ensured through more effective efforts, and overall economic and social stability has been maintained. Overall, the economy's performance in 2022 can be generalized in the following aspects.

First, China's composite national strength has been further strengthened. In 2022, China's GDP exceeded 120 trillion yuan, standing at 121 trillion yuan. After consecutively surpassing 100 trillion yuan in 2020 and 110 trillion yuan in 2021, China's GDP in 2022 reached a record high of 120 trillion yuan, or $18 trillion in U.S. dollar terms, according to the annual average exchange rate. China maintained its position as the world's second-largest economy. China's per capita GDP in 2022 reached 85,698 yuan, up 3% in real terms, amounting to $12,741, according to the annual average exchange rate. China's per capita GDP has exceeded $12,000 for two years in a row. The constant increase in China's GDP in both aggregate and per capita terms means a further enhancement in China's composite national strength, social productivity, international influence and people's living standards, which means a more solid foundation, higher quality, and greater momentum for development. Moreover, it demonstrates the Chinese economy's strong resilience, vast potential and ample space, and the fact that the fundamentals sustaining China's sound economic growth, in the long run, remain unchanged. Surely, it also means that we should continue to work with greater effort. The country's long-range goal for 2035 is to increase per capita GDP to the level of moderately developed countries. At present, the per capita GDP is only $12,700. The GDP needs to more than double to reach this medium-term goal. Therefore, 120 trillion yuan of GDP is only a small step on our way forward.

Second, the economy has remained generally stable. Economic growth was faster than most major economies. Early in the second quarter, affected by some factors beyond expectations, China faced an economic downturn. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council promptly adopted a package of policies to stabilize the economy, making great efforts to support the economy to withstand pressures and to firm up. Just now, I have reported to you that last year China's GDP grew by 3%, which is a fast growth rate compared with major economies in the world. For instance, Germany has announced its projected annual economic growth rate of 1.9%. According to the IMF, the economic growth rate of the U.S. and Japan in 2022 will not exceed 2%. China's GDP growth of 3% is relatively rapid, considering China has suffered shocks of many factors beyond expectation. In addition, overall stability was maintained in employment. A total of 12.06 million new urban jobs were created over the year, surpassing the projected target of 11 million new jobs. At the end of December, the surveyed urban unemployment rate stood at 5.5%, down 0.2 percentage points from the previous month. The consumer price index registered a moderate rise of 2% over the year. As global food and energy prices rose drastically and imported inflationary pressures increased, the stable prices in China contrasted sharply with the high inflation in major economies such as the U.S. and European countries. The balance of payments has been improved. The total volume of trade surplus in goods rose by 35.4% over the previous year; China's foreign exchange reserves reached $3.1277 trillion at the end of year, ranking first in the world.

Third, a solid foundation has been laid for industrial development. The agricultural sector has seen an increase in output and successful harvests. Moreover, a bumper food harvest has been secured for the 19th year in a row. The grain output totaled 686.55 million metric tons and has been kept above 650 million metric tons for eight consecutive years, putting us in a stronger position to ensure the food supply of the Chinese people. Meantime, industry has fully played its role as a ballast stone. The total industrial value added reached 40.2 trillion yuan and the value added by the manufacturing sector stood at 33.5 trillion yuan, leading the world. Industry's contribution to economic growth reached 36%. Infrastructure has been increasingly improved. As of the end of 2022, China's rail network in operation has grown to 155,000 kilometers, including 42,000 km of high-speed railways, leading the world. The world's largest internet infrastructure with world-leading technologies has been built and the industrial internet has been widely integrated into 45 categories of the national economy.

Fourth, domestic demand continued to expand. Despite the shocks of several rounds of COVID-19 resurgences, the total annual retail sales of consumer goods were stable at around 44 trillion yuan, with online retail sales reaching 12 trillion yuan. China is still the second-largest consumer market and largest online retail sales market in the world, with distinctive advantages in its huge market. The total investment in fixed assets exceeded 57 trillion yuan, up 5.1% over the previous year, 0.2 percentage points higher than that of 2021, providing strong support for sustained economic growth.

Fifth, reform and innovation have been deepened. Reforms to streamline administration and delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services have been advanced. The business environment has been improved. Moreover, steady progress has been made in the comprehensive pilot reform for the market-based allocation of production factors. In addition, the development of the high-standard market system has been accelerated. All these have contributed to creating a more favorable condition for the development of market entities. By the end of 2022, the number of market entities registered nationwide reached 169 million, including 114 million self-employed businesses. The innovation-driven development strategy has been further implemented and new development momentums have been playing an increasingly prominent role in driving growth. In 2022, the total value added of the high-tech manufacturing enterprises above designated size grew by 7.4% over the previous year, 3.8 percentage points higher than that of the industrial enterprises above designated size as a whole. Meanwhile, online retail sales of physical goods accounted for 27.2% of total retail sales of consumer goods, with a year-on-year increase of 2.7 percentage points.

Sixth, solid steps have been taken to advance high-standard opening up. Confronted with increasing downward pressure on the world economy and a slowdown in global trade growth, we have advanced high-standard opening up at a faster pace and supported enterprises to maintain production, receive orders and expand the market, achieving rapid growth in foreign trade and foreign investment. The total value of trade in goods reached a record high. In 2022, the total value of trade in goods exceeded 40 trillion yuan, reaching 42.1 trillion yuan, up 7.7% over the previous year. Trade in services grew rapidly. From January to November, the total volume of service trade stood at 5.4 trillion yuan, up 15.6% year on year. Inbound foreign investment grew in a trend-bucking manner. Bright economic development prospects and an increasingly optimized business environment made China a fertile ground for global investment and entrepreneurial pursuits. From January to November, China's utilized foreign investment amounted to 1.1561 trillion yuan, with a year-on-year increase of 9.9% calculated on a comparable basis, surpassing the whole year's total value of utilized foreign investment in 2021, hitting a record high.  

Seventh, strong and effective measures have been taken to ensure people's livelihoods. We have remained committed to ensuring and improving people's livelihoods through development, using every possible means to boost personal incomes, consistently increasing investment in improving people's living standards, and taking practical measures to meet people's basic living needs. Personal incomes have grown steadily. In 2022, per capita disposable income of residents increased by 2.9% in real terms, which stayed basically in step with economic growth. The government provided stronger support to ensure personal incomes, with a year-on-year nominal increase of 5.5% in per capita net transfer income, higher than the growth rate of total personal incomes. Investment in improving people's livelihoods was increased and social sector investment in 2022 went up by 10.9% year on year, among which investment in health and social work was up by 26.1%, an increase of 6.6 percentage points over the previous year.

People can't know how difficult things can be until they have experienced them. Under the complicated circumstances of profound changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century and faced with shock caused by many unexpected factors, it is only by overcoming enormous difficulties that China has been able to make such achievements. We owe our achievements last year to the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the sound guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and the concerted efforts of the Party and Chinese people of all ethnic groups. These achievements speak volumes about the marked advantages of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the strong resilience and vitality of the Chinese economy.

While fully recognizing our achievements, we also need to acknowledge that the international situation is undergoing complex changes, the global growth momentum is weakening, global trade faces grim challenges, and the world economy may suffer from stagflation. Domestically, the foundation for economic recovery is still not solid and enterprises still face many difficulties in their production and operations. Our capacity for scientific and technological innovation still needs to be further developed. Moreover, people still face many difficulties in seeking jobs. More intensive efforts are required to promote overall improvement in the economy. 

Thank you.


Kyodo News:

What's your forecast for economic goals and prospects in 2023? China has put an end to the dynamic zero-COVID approach, opened up its economy, and started to resume work and production. What progress has been made?

Kang Yi:

Thank you for your questions. This year will kick off our efforts to put all the guiding principles from the 20th CPC National Congress into action and it is also a crucial year for continuing to implement the 14th Five-Year Plan. The external environment is complicated and challenging, the global economy faces rising risks of stagflation and the foundation for economic recovery in China still needs to be consolidated. However, the Chinese economy's strong resilience, ample potential and strong vitality and the fundamentals sustaining China's sound economic growth, in the long run, remain unchanged. Moreover, the country's resources and production factors can provide enough support. With China's COVID-19 response moving into a new phase and policies continuing to be implemented fully and meticulously, work and life are expected to return to normal at a faster pace and the internal drivers of China's economy will gather greater momentum. In 2023, China's economy will see overall improvement. According to our analysis of the economy in 2023, there are some advantageous conditions, which are as follows:

First, China has a solid material foundation that has been built up over the years. China possesses all the industrial categories listed by the U.N. and features the best industrial supporting conditions. It has a strong capacity for industrial organization and resilient industrial chains. Therefore, China plays a crucial role in the global industrial division system and the global supply chain system. Infrastructure in China is well developed. In response to the fluctuations in the global supply system, we have enhanced our capacity to ensure security in key areas, including food, energy, and industrial and supply chains, creating favorable conditions for dealing with external risks and challenges.

Second, China enjoys the distinctive advantages of a super-sized domestic market. There are more than 1.4 billion people in China. New industrialization and urbanization continue to advance. China has a super-sized domestic market with the greatest potential in the world, serving as a powerful engine for promoting economic recovery.

Third, new growth drivers have played a stronger role in supporting the economy. We have further implemented the innovation-driven development strategy, worked hard to reinforce China's strategic science and technology capabilities, and taken effective measures to advance the rapid development of new industries. All these will provide new driving forces for economic growth. 

Fourth, the dividends of efforts to deepen reform and opening-up continue to be unleashed. We uphold and further improve the basic socialist economic system and work unswervingly to both consolidate and develop the public sector and to encourage, support and guide the development of the non-public sector. We have strived to accelerate the development of a unified domestic market, deepened reforms to streamline administration, delegate power, improve regulation and strengthen services, and fostered an internationalized and law-based business environment, and created a more level playing field for various market entities.

Fifth, China has rich experience in macro regulation. In particular, current prices are generally stable and under control, leaving ample space for us to reserve and utilize policy tools for macro regulation in many ways.

In 2023, China's economy will certainly see an overall improvement. I believe you have seen the current situation of epidemic response and resumption of work and production. Taking Beijing as an example, traffic congestion has returned. And the number of domestic flights surpassed 80% of the level in 2019. People have returned to normal life. All these factors will create better conditions for economic growth in 2023.

Thank you.



According to the statistics, in 2022, the total retail sales of consumer goods dropped by 0.2% over the previous year. In December, it went down 1.8% year on year. For this year, what effective measures will be taken to boost consumption, especially consumer spending? Moreover, what were the respective contributions of the three key demands for economic growth? Thank you.

Kang Yi:

Thank you for your questions. Consumption is a topic concerning everyone. Expanding domestic demand remains one of our top priorities this year.

Last year, the entire consumer market was hit hard by the epidemic. Especially due to the restrictions on cluster and in-person consumption, the overall consumer market was greatly impacted. In addition, people have become less willing to consume. The problems of being afraid and inconvenient to consume have become prominent. Total retail sales of consumer goods decreased by 0.2% last year, and the consumer market was significantly affected by the short-term disruption of the epidemic. Under such circumstances, we immediately launched a set of policies to boost consumption and basically stabilized the domestic consumption market with some new changes emerging. For example, overall sales margin improved in December. Total retail sales of consumer goods dropped by 1.8% in December. Compared to the decrease of 5.9% in November, as we reported, it narrowed by 4.1 percentage points. Some new types of consumption have developed rapidly. Online retail sales have made up an increasing share. Specifically, online retail sales of physical goods accounted for 27.2% of the total retail sales of consumer goods in 2022, 2.7 percentage points higher than the previous year. People tend to have an increased demand for higher-quality goods or services. All of the above are the characteristics of our country's consumption over the past year. 

We have full confidence in China's consumer market in 2023. As China's epidemic response enters a new phase, production and life have gradually returned to normal, and consumer spending on brick-and-mortar businesses will gradually pick up. The consumer market is expected to recover in a steady manner. Here are some favorable conditions.

First, there is huge spending potential among Chinese consumers. There is a huge consumer demand with a population of more than 1.4 billion. At the same time, the general trend of the consumption structure upgrading has remained unchanged. Second, offline and service spending is gradually returning to normal. As production and life accelerate the pace of recovery, restrictions on consumption scenarios will be greatly reduced, creating favorable conditions for the recovery of service consumption and in-person consumption. Third, new consumer hotspots are emerging. New consumption models such as "internet plus" and "digital plus" have developed rapidly. Consumers tend to spend more on a green lifestyle, fitness, health care, and cultural products and services. Fourth, a stable job market and rising household income will also promote consumer spending. I mentioned that China's overall economy would definitely improve in 2023 when we looked at the outlook of China's economy in the next year. Economic recovery will improve employment and people's income and greatly boost consumers' capacity and willingness to spend.

At the end of last year, the National Development and Reform Commission issued a mid- and long-term plan to boost spending and domestic demand and made a series of arrangements for expanding the domestic market, promoting consumption, expanding employment, raising income, improving income distribution, perfecting income distribution pattern, facilitating consumption, and combining expanding domestic demand with deepening supply-side structural reforms. The implementation of these policies will continuously enhance people's spending power and promote the recovery, improvement, and scale of the consumer market in a steady manner.  

Regarding the contributions made by the three key demands for economic growth, final consumption expenditure, capital formation, and net exports of goods and services drove economic growth by 1 percentage point, 1.5 percentage points, and 0.5 percentage points, respectively; and they were responsible for 32.8%, 50.1%, and 17.1% of economic growth, respectively.

Thank you.


21st Century Business Herald:

I would like to ask, how do you view China's performance in achieving its 2022 employment goals? With the number of college graduates expected to hit a new record high in 2023, how will you better achieve the goal of stable employment? Thank you.

Kang Yi:

Employment has always been a topic concerning everyone. In 2022, due to the resurgence of the pandemic, small and medium-sized enterprises have been faced with increasing operating difficulties. It has also become difficult for key groups to find jobs, especially among the youth, where there are rising unemployment rates, which has brought challenges to realizing stable employment. Employment matters most in people's lives. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have attached great importance to this issue and introduced a series of effective measures to stabilize employment. All localities and government departments have adhered to the principle of giving priority to employment, intensified the effect generated by the policy of stabilizing and expanding employment, taken measures to ensure employment for key groups, made every effort to stabilize employment, and safeguarded the bottom line of preventing large-scale unemployment. It has demonstrated the following characteristics.

First, the employment situation is generally stable. China created 12.06 million new urban jobs, exceeding its target of 11 million set at the start of the year. Due to the spread of the pandemic, the surveyed urban unemployment rate rose temporarily in particular months, reaching 6.1% at its peak. However, for the year overall, the unemployment rate remained basically stable. Notably, the employment situation has improved recently as the package of policies to stabilize the economy, and subsequent policies, have taken effect. The surveyed urban unemployment rate was 5.5% in December, dropping by 0.2 percentage points from November.

Second, effective measures have been taken to ensure the employment of key groups. A series of policies targeted toward helping enterprises create jobs and keep their employees have been adopted, which are helpful in facilitating college graduates and migrant workers to find jobs. In December, the surveyed urban jobless rate for the people holding junior college degrees or above between the ages of 20 and 24 was 21.1%, falling by 0.2 percentage points from November, the fifth consecutive month that the rate has decreased. The drop in urban joblessness for those between the ages of 16 and 24 was even more significant. Meanwhile, the surveyed unemployment rate for rural migrant workers was 5.4%, a drop of 0.6 percentage points from the previous month. The number of migrant workers reached 295.62 million in 2022, an increase of 3.11 million from 2021, surpassing 2019's pre-COVID levels. Moreover, over 32 million laborers who have been lifted out of poverty found employment, and rural and urban people facing difficulties also found jobs.

Generally speaking, the overall employment situation remained stable in 2022. The surveyed urban jobless rate increased slightly compared with 2021 levels, which was due to multiple unexpected factors at home and abroad. Going forward, the pressure on the job market remains, with more than 11.5 million college students expected to graduate this year and ongoing prominent structural problems. However, the overall employment situation is expected to improve in 2023 as the economy recovers, which will lead to expanded demand for employment and more jobs becoming available. First, thanks to optimized COVID-19 containment measures, people's lives are getting back to normal, and enterprises will gradually resume work and production, promoting employment demand. Second, service sectors, ranging from accommodation and catering to tourism, will recover as public transport, logistics, and travel rebound. Service sectors have a large capacity for employment, so more job opportunities will be created in the rebound and development of these sectors. Third, governments and departments at all levels will continue to enhance pro-employment policies, implementing measures to ease the burden of enterprises, keep their employees, and create more jobs. Such stepped-up efforts will provide employment support for key groups, including college graduates, and ensure employment stability. Fourth, the rapid growth of the new drivers will continue to create more new jobs, which will serve as an important driver to expand employment and ensure high-quality employment. Thank you. 


Swiss Radio:

Looking back to consumption, will there be further measures taken to enhance consumption to turn it around?

Kang Yi: 

Consumption has become a concern for everyone. I have talked about this just now, so I'd like to invite Mr. Fu to give you more information. 

Fu Linghui:

Consumption has been of great concern for everyone. Given the complicated and grim situation, governments and departments at all levels adopted a series of policies to promote consumption last year. In 2023, China released medium- and long-term policies to further expand domestic demand. Then, governments and departments at all levels are expected to play a bigger role in spurring consumption in a bid to expand domestic demand and promote economic recovery. As the pandemic containment has entered a new phase, the entire environment is more favorable for consumption, and people with increased spending power are more willing to spend. Recovery of consumption is expected to see good momentum this year, which will help China's economy to deliver a better performance. Thank you. 


What do you think of fixed asset investment in 2022? The growth rate of investment has been declining despite the country's policies and measures to ensure growth and investment stability. What's behind this decline? What do you think of these investments going forward? Thank you. 

Kang Yi:

Thank you. Fixed asset investment played an important role in stabilizing the economy in 2022, with capital formation accounting for 50.1% of the country's GDP growth. In 2022, fixed asset investment witnessed steady growth, up 0.2 percentage points from the previous year. All regions and all government departments made great efforts to ensure the construction of the key projects. Stepped-up endeavors have been made to shore up weak links and accelerate the issuance and use of local government special bonds. Policy-based and developmental financial instruments have been made good use of. In this way, fixed asset investment has maintained stable growth, with its structure being improved. Investment has played a key role in keeping growth stable and promoting structural adjustment.  

Investment continued to expand, reaching 57.2 trillion yuan. Investment in the manufacturing sector grew rapidly, with a year-on-year growth of 9.1% in 2022, 4 percentage points faster than that of the national investment. The investment in manufacturing technology transformation increased by 8.4%, accounting for 40.6% of the total investment in the manufacturing sector, with its share surpassing more than 40%. Investment in infrastructure continued to accelerate, with investment in infrastructure growing by 9.4% year on year. The share of investment increase in water conservancy management was 13.6%, public facilities management was 10.1%, and information transmission was 9.3%. Investment in high-tech industries also witnessed rapid growth, up 18.9% from the previous year. Such growth is 13.8 percentage points faster than that of the national investment. The growth rate for high-tech manufacturing was 22.2%, and the rate for high-tech services was 12.1%. Moreover, investment in areas that are important to people's lives witnessed rapid increases, up 10.9% year on year, with the investment in health and social work increasing by 26.1%.

Generally, fixed investment remains stable but has new features. Driven by the demand side in the short term but by the supply side in the medium and long term, fixed investment requires the synergy of both supply and demand. This year, fixed investment is expected to continue to expand, considering the following aspects.

First, the investment potential of building a modern socialist country in all respects is huge. As the largest developing country in the world, China still faces a huge gap with developed countries in development levels on a per capita basis. China's per capita GDP is less than one-fifth of that of the U.S. and one-third of that of Japan. China's per capita infrastructure capital stock is only 20% to 30% of that of developed countries, and the space for development is huge.

Second, making up for disadvantages and strengthening weaknesses provides broad investment space. The problem of China's imbalanced and inadequate development is still prominent. The development gaps between urban and rural areas and between regions are relatively big and some rural areas in central and western China are lacking in infrastructure. Shoring up weak links implies broad investment space. Imbalances also exist in urban areas, and many weak points need to be strengthened. 

Third, the momentum of investment in innovative development is strong. In recent years, the high-tech manufacturing industry, represented by electronic medicine and the high-tech service industry, represented by e-commerce, have maintained sound growth. These industries still have great potential in the future. 

Fourth, infrastructure investment has been strengthened. The transformation and upgrading of traditional technological facilities, including transportation, energy, and water conservancy and the accelerated construction of new infrastructure such as 5G, extra-high voltage, intercity freeways and big data centers will drive effective investment. In terms of leading indicators, the total planned investment of projects starting construction in 2022 grew 20.2% year on year, with a growth rate of over 20% for four straight months. In December, the number of newly registered fixed assets investment projects was 38,000, up 7.5% from November. Considering these indicators, investment in 2023 has a solid foundation.

Generally speaking, China's investment has development potential, space and momentum, and is expected to sustain growth. Thank you. 


Financial Times:

Can you provide information on China's death rate in December 2022 and how it compares with December 2021? Thank you. 

Kang Yi:

Thank you for your question about population, which is of great concern to many. I will introduce it from the perspective of demographic statistics. China conducts a population census every 10 years, or at the end of each decade. The latest census, also the seventh, was conducted in 2020. In non-census years, demographic statistics use survey sampling methods. At midnight on Nov. 1 each year, survey sampling is conducted in order to identify demographic changes. Therefore, the total population, births and deaths for the whole year are calculated. Thank you.


Last year saw a decline in real estate and exports. In terms of statistics, is there any new growth driving force for sustainable economic development to offset the factors leading to the decline? Thank you. 

Kang Yi:

Thank you for your question about real estate and exports. First, I will brief you on the real estate situation in 2022. With a long industrial chain and affecting many aspects, the real estate industry greatly influences the national economy. According to our calculations, real estate and its relevant industries account for 13% or 14% of total GDP. In 2022, the value added of the real estate industry decreased by 5.1%, affecting many indexes. Due to the impact of the real estate industry, the 5.1% growth rate of fixed investment is not very fast. The 10% reduction in real estate investing led to a decline of 2.5 percentage points in fixed assets investment. Affected by the real estate sector, private investment increased by 0.9%. Private investment accounts for about 80% of real estate investment. Therefore, the decline of 10% in the latter has a big downward influence on the former. Manufacturing investment in private investment grew by double digits. Private investment has a large proportion of real estate investment, which has had a great downward impact on the former. Fluctuations in the real estate market are normal. 

According to the latest situation, the country released a series of relevant policies to construct a new real estate system, as we have noticed. In December, the decline in all indexes in the real estate industry slowed down, with new factors coming into being. The decline in real estate investment in December was 7.7 percentage points smaller than that of November. Declines in the sold floor space of commercial buildings, sales volume, capital in place, and the floor space of houses beginning construction narrowed to different degrees. Therefore, we initially estimated that the impact of the real estate industry on the economy in 2023 would not be greater than that in 2022. Real estate remains a pillar industry, and conditions are favorable for the steady recovery of the real estate market. With urbanization still in development, China saw an increase of half a percentage point in its urbanization rate to 65.22% last year, still lower than 80% of developed countries. The newly added urban population was huge last year, which implies future development space. Policy adjustment in supply and demand aims to emphasize that housing is for living in, not for speculation, and reduce the financial function of real estate. Besides, guarantee and supply are provided in multiple channels from various parties, which will help establish a new healthy real estate market. 

Policies concerning the demand side to support justified and improved housing needs will effectively support the real estate industry. The demand for improved living conditions is substantial. As the pillar industry for developing and developed countries, the real estate industry has a tremendous influence on the economy. Thank you. 


Economic Daily:

China will conduct its fifth national economic census in 2023. How is the work going? What improvements will be made to the upcoming national economic census compared with the previous one? Thank you.

Kang Yi: 

Thank you for your questions and for allowing us to share more information about the fifth national economic census with the public. First, I will introduce the progress we have made in conducting the upcoming national economic census. The State Council issued a notice on carrying out the fifth national economic census on Nov. 17 last year to jump-start the work. The fifth national economic census is a major survey of national conditions and national strength carried out in the critical period of the beginning of building a modern socialist country in all aspects after the success of the 20th CPC National Congress. It's fair to say that this is also the first major survey on national conditions and national strength in the journey towards building a modern socialist country in all aspects, following the achievement of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects. The NBS has thoroughly implemented major decisions and arrangements on statistical work deployed by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, regarding the fifth national economic census as a major statistical task, and making solid progress in the planning and coordination of the census.

First, we have carefully planned the general idea of the census and coordinately arranged the input-output survey. The NBS regards carrying out the economic census and input-output surveys in a coordinated manner as a major statistical task, as part of the Plan for Modernizing Statistical System during the 14th Five-year Plan period. In the second half of 2021, we launched special pilot projects in six regions, including Shanxi province, to evaluate the feasibility and necessity of coordinating the two surveys. We have concentrated on the service of the new development stage, promoted high-quality development, closely focused on the task of modernizing statistical system, and formulated the general idea of the fifth national economic census on the basis of extensively soliciting opinions from all sectors and in-depth discussions.

Second, we have completed special pilot projects and made solid progress in making plans for the census. From June to September 2022, the NBS carried out special pilot projects in 14 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities, including Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei, focusing on solving key and tricky problems and testing new content, methods and technologies for the census. Based on the results of the special pilot projects, we have formed the draft of the plan for the fifth national economic census. Currently, we are widely soliciting opinions about the draft plan from within statistical systems and relevant departments. 

Third, we have strengthened coordination among departments to promote the implementation of arrangements for the census. As a massive social system project, the economic census requires the close cooperation of all sectors of the whole society. Now, all regions across the country have started implementing census work in their localities.

Your second question is about the differences between the fifth national economic census and the previous one. First, the upcoming census marks our first time conducting input-output surveys in a coordinated manner. As an objective requirement to promote high-quality development, census and survey work is an important measure in advancing the modernization of statistical system and the national economic accounting reform, as well as in consolidating the quality of statistical survey data. It is not only convenient to coordinate survey tasks, integrate survey contents, optimize survey items, and reduce the burden of grassroots work, but also conducive to a more comprehensive and systematic collection of grassroots data, the coordination of statistical survey data, and better verification of relevant data, ultimately achieving a better connection between economic aggregate and structural data.

Second, we will further innovate the means and methods used for conducting the census and survey. This national economic census will widely use administrative records of departments to promote the application of electronic licenses and certificates during the process. We will also adopt new ways to carry out the census, combining online filling with handheld electronic terminals and on-site data collection. We will also encourage census respondents to submit census data via the internet.

Third, we will launch inspections on the census in due time. We will firmly hold the lifeline of census data quality, strictly implement the census plan, standardize the work process of the census, strengthen the inspection and verification of data quality throughout the whole process, and effectively prevent and punish behaviors of statistical fraud and fake statistics. We will include the census situation in the content of statistical inspections at an appropriate time.

For the next year, in accordance with the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, the NBS will steadily advance the establishment of census institutions, the construction of comprehensive pilot projects, the inventory work of various units, and the preparation work for census registration, to lay the foundation for the smooth implementation of the fifth national economic census and successfully complete the tasks of this year's census. The census will be a "comprehensive physical examination" of the national economy. With this, I would like to call for more support, understanding, participation and cooperation from every respondent engaged in this census. We also hope that our media friends will actively promote, support and supervise the census work.

Shou Xiaoli:

Due to time limitations, we can only answer two more questions.


Bloomberg News: 

My first question is about the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate usually rises in December, based on the last five or seven years. But this year, it fell. How do you explain that change in the historical pattern of unemployment, especially considering that in December, most of China seemed to have COVID-19 and economic activity was very, very limited? My second question is related to the question from the Financial Times. Will you be releasing monthly death data in the coming months, considering how much interest there is in how many people have died and how fast that is increasing? Thank you.

Kang Yi:

Thank you for your questions. Everyone pays close attention to the issue of employment and unemployment, and you have also been very careful to analyze China's urban survey unemployment rate data released every December for many consecutive years. In December 2022, the unemployment rate in China's urban survey fell by 0.2%, mainly due to the decline in the labor participation rate. In December, the labor participation rate fell by 1.1 percentage points, because migrant workers returned home. Moreover, some were recuperating at home after COVID-19 infections, and their willingness to participate in work was low, which was the main reason for the decline in the labor participation rate.

As for the second question, on Jan. 14, the State Council's Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism held a press conference on the current situation. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, China has shared its data on the pandemic, including information on infections and other aspects, with the world, its people and relevant institutions at the earliest opportunity. Since the pandemic prevention and control entered a new stage, relevant data will be released according to the relevant provisions of the Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases and according to the rules that manage Class B infectious disease, as COVID-19 management was downgraded from Class A to Class B.

Thank you.


Tianmu News:

As you mentioned just now, in the context of high global inflation, we can see that the current price data in China is still relatively stable and moderate. What is the reason for this? What is your anticipation for the price trend in 2023? Thank you.

Kang Yi:

The stable operation of prices is not only conducive to the stable performance of the economy, but also conducive to ensuring people's livelihoods. China's prices remained generally stable last year, with the annual CPI rising by 2%, lower than the expected target of 3%. There were many reasons for this.

First, China did not issue excess currency, and prices still reflect the relationship between supply and demand. Let's compare China's situation with that of other countries and regions. The US has continuously raised interest rates to curb inflation, and its CPI rose 6.5% in December. Europe's CPI rose at the sharp level, still more than 10%. Japan's CPI has also been rising recently. During the past three years of pandemic prevention and control, China has not flooded its economy with liquidity. This is the first reason.

Second, the effects of ensuring supply and stabilizing prices have become apparent. Geopolitical conflicts and rising energy prices are significant factors that contribute to imported inflation. We first ensured the energy supply, such as the coal supply, which reached a total output of 4.5 billion tonnes in 2022. The stable supply of coal ensured the power supply. Also, the grain price. China's grain output has been stable at more than 1.3 trillion jin (650 million tonnes) every year for eight consecutive years, achieving "19 consecutive-year harvests." A rise in food prices would drive up the prices of many commodities. According to the requirements of General Secretary Xi Jinping, we must secure our own food supply for the Chinese people. With a population of more than 1.4 billion, if our food supply were insufficient, we would have to purchase grains on the international market, which would drive international food prices even higher. We have provided a solid foundation to stabilize the supply and prices of grains, energy and other major commodities.

Third, the supply of industrial goods and services is sufficient. As I said just now, it reflects the relationship between supply and demand. China's complete industrial system and adequate supply of goods and services contribute to the stability of consumer prices.

In 2023, there is no basis for a sharp rise in prices. We are confident that the CPI trend will remain stable in the new year. Thank you.

Shou Xiaoli:

Today was Mr. Kang's first time attending our press conference at the State Council Information Office. Thank you to all the speakers and thank you to all the reporters for your participation. That's all for today's press conference.

Translated and edited by Yang Xi, Liu Jianing, Xu Kailin, Liu Sitong, Wang Qian, Zhang Rui, Wang Yanfang, Qin Qi, Li Huiru, Gong Yingchun, Zhou Jing, Huang Shan, Daniel Xu, Tom Arnsten, and Jay Birbeck. In case of any discrepancy between the English and Chinese texts, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

/4    Shou Xiaoli

/4    Kang Yi

/4    Fu Linghui

/4    Group photo