China is confident of achieving its annual economic growth target of around 5 percent in 2023, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Sunday.
Kang Yi, head of the bureau, said China's potential growth rate is widely estimated to be between 5 and 6 percent, and the country will likely achieve its potential growth rate this year with the normalization of production and life.
"From the medium to long-term perspective, China is still a developing country. There is still a wide gap with advanced countries in terms of per capita levels, and that leaves huge space for development," he said on the sidelines of this year's two sessions on Sunday.
Kang said the fundamentals of China's long-term economic development remain unchanged, and it is endowed with an extremely large market, an abundant workforce and favorable conditions for development.
NBS data showed that manufacturing activity expanded at the fastest pace in February since April 2012, as the official purchasing managers index for the manufacturing sector surged to 52.6 in February.
" (The latest PMI readings) point to strengthened confidence and improved expectations," Kang said. "China's economy is steadily improving. We've seen steady improvement in rail freight volume, power generation as well as some key indicators like industrial output and retail sales, with the latest figures set to be released on March 15."
He said the economy still faces mounting uncertainties, a complicated environment as well as deep-rooted structural issues, and companies are also confronted with difficulties. Greater effort will be made to apply the new development philosophy across the board, move faster to create a new pattern of development and pursue high-quality development.
According to the NBS, China reported 3 percent GDP growth for 2022, better than the 2.1 percent reported in the United States and 1.8 percent in Germany.
Notably, China's gross domestic expenditure on R&D exceeded 3 trillion yuan ($434.4 billion) last year, accounting for 2.55 percent of GDP. That percentage of R&D spending is close to the average levels among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development economies.
When it comes to national statistical work, Kang said that this year China will undertake its fifth national economic census, and the NBS will carry out carbon emissions statistical accounting and establish a common prosperity statistical monitoring system.