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GDP by sector, 1978 - 2003 (in 100 Mio. Yuan) [see: in %]

Source: China Statistical Yearbook, 2004, Table 3-1
Note: At current prices.

China's phenomenal economic growth in recent years was primarily due to growth in the secondary and tertiary sector of the economy. In fact, the primary sector (which is mainly the agriculture) grew only slightly since 1996 (changes in the proportions between primary, secondary and tertiary sector: see here).

Among economists there is a debate about the true values of China's GDP growth. Some economists have argued that China's economic growth rates are actually much lower than reported by the National Bureau of Statistics. However, in the context of rural and regional development it is more important that the relative contribution of agriculture to China's GDP has declined significantly. China is clearly moving from an agricultural society to an industry and services based society - even in many rural areas (see here).

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china-profile.com - 18 April 2012