China’s economy grew a record 18.3% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same quarter last year, according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics. It’s the biggest jump in GDP since China started keeping quarterly records in 1992.
But the figure is heavily skewed as the surge in growth comes off a contraction in the first quarter of last year when the economy shrank tremendously during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Analysts say the GDP growth nevertheless suggests that China continues to gain economic momentum.
China’s economic importance is accelerating. At the same time, it is becoming more and more focused on building its domestic market, both in consumption and innovation.
Last year, China filed nearly 69,000 patents with the World Intellectual Property Organization, a rise of 16%.
The US had just above 59,000 applications, up three per cent, while in Germany, the number of patent applications actually fell 3.7 Percent to just over 18,600.
As the Chinese economy expands, industries like Germany’s auto sector are becoming increasingly dependent on China. 41 percent of Volkswagen sales volume comes from China, while China makes up about a third of BMW’s overall sales.
And Daimler sells 29 percent of its vehicles in China. The US remains Germany’s biggest trading partner. Last year, Germany sold 104 billion euros worth of goods and services there — that’s a 12.5 percent decline on 2019, largely because of the pandemic.
But China is not far behind. Germany exported goods worth nearly 96-billion euros to China last year, more or less unchanged from before the pandemic.
*Gateway China News Centre, keep you updated on China