China's economy surged in 2017, posting a 6.9 percent increase from the year before — its first annual increase in seven years.
The figures announced Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics outstripped the 6.7 percent increase recorded in 2016, which marked the weakest annual expansion in 26 years. The final number was also well above the 6.5 percent target set by government policymakers.
The bureau credited the unexpected gains on robust exports, which rose 10.8 percent from the previous year, and increased consumer spending, with retail sales growing by 10.2 percent.
The figures boost the government's decision to turn from wasteful and polluting industries, which had fueled China's rapid rise to become the world's second-largest economy.