BEIJING, May 6 (Xinhua) -- China's gross domestic product (GDP) grew an annual average of 9.67 percent from 1978 to 2006, said Ma Kai, the minister of the National Development and Reform Commission.
"The annual growth rate was much higher than that of the world economy, which was about 3.3 percent on average in the same period", said Ma. "During the period, China has beefed up its comprehensive national strength and elevated its international status", said Ma, adding that "the country has become the world's fourth largest economy and third largest trader". "The per capita disposable income of urban residents rose from 343 yuan (44 U.S. dollars) in 1978 to 11,759 yuan in 2006, while the per capita net income of farmers grew from 134 yuan to 3,587 yuan", Ma said. "Meanwhile, China's budgetary revenues rose from 113.23 billion yuan to 3.93 trillion yuan". "As it opens wider to the outside world, China has received more foreign direct investment than any other developing country for 14 straight years and by the end of 2006 there were 590,000 foreign-invested firms in China", said Ma. "But we must be aware that as a large developing country, China still faces a number of difficulties and challenges in economic development, including the increasing environmental restraints, the arduous industrial restructuring and the growing gap between urban and rural areas", said Ma.