China's full-year GDP exceeded 100 trillion yuan for the first time

China on Monday reported a gross domestic product (GDP) increase of 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, bringing the country's full-year expansion to 2.3 percent.

Despite the grave and complex environment posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, China managed to bring its economic growth back to a pre-pandemic rate. Its full-year GDP exceeded 100 trillion yuan ($15.45 trillion) for the first time, China's National Bureau of Statistics said.

China's fourth-quarter GDP beat many institutions' expectations, including Reuters' forecast of 6.1 percent and Natixis' estimation of 6.3 percent. Only Barkley's had estimated a growth of 6.5 percent.

The annual growth of 2.3 percent indicates that China led major economies in annual positive growth in 2020, while many others continue to grapple with the pandemic.

Seeing a more robust recovery in China, the World Bank (WB) last year estimated that the country would increase its share of the world economy to 14.5 percent in 2020, with global output contracting 4.3 percent, compared with the U.S.' 22 percent share for the same period.

"A 2.3 percent GDP growth for 2020 certainly augurs the beginning of the recovery for the Chinese economy. Notably, this growth rate hits the high end of the 2.1-2.3 percent range discussed by most economists. Moving forward, these numbers confirm the trend that the days of eight percent GDP growth for China are closer than expected, perhaps as soon as 2021," said Edgar Perez, an independent consultant and former vice president at Citigroup.

The quickened economic recovery in the last quarter, accelerating from the third quarter's 4.9 percent pace, was driven by stronger demand both domestically and abroad.

China's total retail sales of consumer goods in 2020 reached about 40 trillion yuan ($6.16 trillion). Although the annual figure went down by 3.9 percent year on year, the fourth quarter saw a stronger recovery of 4.6 percent from 0.9 percent in the previous quarter, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS).

China's success in controlling the pandemic also helped it expand shares in global trade. The total value of imports and exports in 2020 increased by 1.9 percent, with exports booming by 4.0 percent. In year terms, "the exports of mechanical and electrical products grew by 6.0 percent, accounting for 59.4 percent of the total value of exports," said the NBS.

Investment in high-tech grew by 10.6 percent in 2020. Inside high-tech services, the investment in e-commerce services and information services grew by 20.2 percent and 15.2 percent respectively.

"These impressive growth rates point to strong high-tech momentum for China in the first quarter of 2021 and beyond," Perez told CGTN.