BEIJING, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- China's economy expanded 7.7 percent in 2013, overshooting the official target of 7.5 percent. Beneath the headline number, several pleasant changes were seen spreading across the economy amid the country's rebalancing efforts.
The following are some facts and figures on China's economic performance in 2013.
-- Improving Industrial Structure
China's service sector accounted for 46.1 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013, outperforming the industrial sector for the first time.
According to the 12th five-year plan for the service sector, China aims to raise the sector's share of GDP growth by 4 percentage points in 2015 from the level in 2010.
-- Narrowing Urban-Rural Gap
Growth of rural residents' per capita disposable income continued to outpace that of urban households.
The per capita net income of rural residents rose 9.3 percent in real terms, while that for urban residents gained 7 percent.
The Gini coefficient, an index reflecting the rich-poor gap, eased to 0.473 from 0.474 in 2012.
-- More Balanced Regional Growth
Central and western regions accounted for 44.4 percent of the GDP growth last year, an increase of 0.2 percentage points from a year earlier.
A key meeting on urbanization put particular emphasis on policies in the less-developed central, west and northeast regions, promising to boost infrastructure investments and guide industrial transfer to those regions this year.
-- Steady Job Market
China's urban unemployment rate stood at around 4.1 percent in 2013.
A total of 13.1 million new jobs were created in urban areas in the 12 months, and 5.66 million people were re-employed after losing work.
-- Deepening Financial Reforms
China launched the Shanghai pilot free trade zone in 2013 as a test bed for deepening market-oriented reforms and boosting economic vitality.
The zone is set to explore new ways of reducing government interventions and opening the Chinese economy wider to global investors.
In a further step toward fully floating China's interest rates, the central bank in December allowed interbank trading of deposit certificates, following the removal of the floor on lending rates in July.
-- Burgeoning Internet Finance
In 2013, the flourishing of Internet financial products quickly altered the financial landscape.
By the end of the year, Yu'E Bao, a personal online finance product by Internet giant Alibaba that allows users to place any amount of savings into a money market fund, had 43 million users with aggregate deposits of 185 billion yuan (about 31 billion U.S. dollars).
Other Internet giants, such as Tencent and Baidu, are also vying for a share in the market, posing a real threat to the state-backed banks.Analysts hope the competition will help China nurture a more efficient financial market.
-- Record Grain Output
China saw another bumper year for grain production in 2013 as output gained 2.1 percent year on year to hit 601.94 million tonnes.
This marked the 10th consecutive year of increased grain output in China despite challenges such as shrinking arable land amid the urbanization drive and land pollution due to excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers.
To ensure grain security, the Chinese government has pledged to speed up the transfer of rural land and offer more subsidies to family farms and farmers' cooperatives in an effort to develop large-scale farming.