by Xinhua writer Wang Bowen
BEIJING, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Recently released official data showed that the tertiary sector made up 46.1 percent of China's GDP in 2013, outperforming the secondary sector for the first time.
The historic shift results from the Chinese government's active efforts in economic restructuring, and heralds further upgrading of China's consumption structure.
The change tags along with the rapid rise of Chinese consumer spending. The retail sales of consumer goods last year totaled 23.438 trillion yuan (about 3.8 trillion U.S. dollars), registering a year-on-year expansion of 13.1 percent and accounting for 50 percent of China's economic growth.
Although the 13.1-percent growth of consumption marked a slight slowdown, the pace remained blistering. Its contribution, albeit down 1.8 percentage points from the previous year, still indicated a robust engine of growth.
The rise of China as a consumer economy is inevitable. Official projections show that China's consumption will reach 30 trillion yuan (about 4.9 trillion dollars) in 2015 and 50 trillion (about 8.2 trillion dollars) in 2020.
The trend fits the Asian giant itself. Given such challenges as the volatile international economic situation, boosting domestic consumption is key to achieving and sustaining a healthy development of the Chinese economy.
From a global perspective, the rising tide of Chinese consumption also augurs well for the whole world, particularly considering the lingering shadows of the global financial crisis.
The rich world is recovering, but at a slack pace, while the growth of emerging-market economies is faced with increasing pressure. The overall situation of the world economy remains challenging and in need of sustainable driving force.
Thus, China's greater purchasing power is of particular global significance. For starters, the country, with 1.3 billion people, has become the fastest growing export market of both Europe and the United States.
From 2000 through 2013, China imported a total of 2.57 trillion dollars' worth of goods from the European Union and the United States, which played an important role in their job creation and economic recovery.
Another example is the boom of overseas tourism. In 2013, 98 million Chinese spent 120 billion dollars on overseas visits, respectively up 18 and 20 percent. The two figures are expected to reach 114 million and 140 billion dollars in 2014.
All these numbers help consolidate the increasingly broad consensus that Chinese consumption will be a major driver of global growth in the future.
The rapid upswing of consumption also gives the lie to those merchants of gloom claiming that China was headed for a hard landing. It is high time that they stopped looking at the trajectory of the Chinese economy upside down.