Gross domestic product grew 2.3% in 2020, making China the only major economy in the world to avoid a contraction last year as many nations struggled to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
The world’s second-largest economy has surprised many with the speed of its recovery from the coronavirus jolt, especially as policymakers have also had to navigate tense U.S.-China relations on trade and other fronts.
Beijing’s strict virus curbs enabled it to largely contain the COVID-19 outbreak much quicker than most countries, while government-led policy stimulus and local manufacturers stepping up production to supply goods to many countries crippled by the pandemic have also helped fire up momentum.
GDP expanded 6.5% year-on-year in the fourth quarter, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed, quicker than the 6.1% forecast by economists in a Reuters poll, and followed the third quarter’s solid 4.9% growth.
China’s ability to expand, even as the world struggled to control a deadly virus that has killed more than two million people, underscores the country’s success in largely taming the coronavirus within its borders and further cements its place as the dominant economy in Asia.
China’s growth makes it an outlier among large economies. The World Bank expects the U.S. economy to have contracted by 3.6% and the eurozone’s to have shrunk by 7.4% in 2020, contributing to a global economic pullback of 4.3%.
China is expected to continue to power ahead of its peers this year, with GDP set to expand at the fastest pace in a decade at 8.4%.