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mining output declined by 1% year-on-year, thanks to Beijing’s efforts to strengthen environmental standards ahead of the winter heating season. At the same time, production of electronic equipment, computers and IT-related products has continued to grow strongly, up 13% relative to a year ago. Such a divergence is one indication that the economy is moving up the value-added chain.

A similar trend is evident in corporate investment. Growth in total fixed-asset investment eased in October, driven by a 2% decline in heavy-polluting industries.

However, corporate capital expenditure in hi-tech sectors has continued to climb, up 17% year-on-year. President Xi Jinping’s pledge to foster growth in innovation and cutting-edge technology should ensure that research and development, and hardware investments in these industries will continue to grow at a buoyant pace for years to come.

Finally, changing consumer shopping behaviour has driven an ongoing divergence between online and offline retail sales. The 6% growth registered in offline sales was pale in comparison to the 34% jump in online activities.

The 34% doesn’t include Singles’ Day: Alibaba set a world record for payment transactions, with its mobile wallet app Alipay processing 256,000 payment transactions per second, in 2017. A total of 1.48 billion transactions were processed by Alipay in the entire 24 hours, with delivery orders through Cainiao (Alibaba’s logistics affiliate) reaching close to 700 million, breaking 2016’s record

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