Chinaâ€™s economy grew 10.7% in 2006, its fastest rate in more than a decade, as investment and exports powered ahead despite a raft of government curbs to keep the pace of expansion in check.
The worldâ€™s fourth-largest economy has now grown at double-digit rates for four years in a row.
At that pace, Chinaâ€™s output could leapfrog Germanyâ€™s and catapult it into third place in the global rankings as soon as 2006, when it will showcase its meteoric rise by hosting the Olympic Games. It overtook Britain in 2006.
The message is that the economy is booming and it is forecasted that it will grow 10.7% again in 2007 by the Asian financial market research at Singapore.
China has almost doubled its national output in five years, riding an unprecedented wave of industrialization, urbanization and inward investment, the latter galvanized by Chinaâ€™s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001.
The tone of recent comments by chinaâ€™s leaders, anxious to create jobs, suggests they believe that breakneck growth can be sustained and that the risks it entails are manageable.
With gross domestic product now totaling 20.94 trillion yuan ($2.7 trillion), income per head of Chinaâ€™s 1.3 billion people now exceeds $2,000 but is still a far cry from Americaâ€™s $42,000.
Still, several economists said they expected the authorities to tamp down the economy by raising interest rates, possibly this quarter, and by letting the yuan rise faster to dampen exports.
Fears of tighter policy helped push the benchmark Shanghai stock index down 3.96% to 2,857.365 points, its sharpest fall since July, while the five-year government bond yield rose to 2.6218%, its highest level in two months.
Macro-economic adjustments will certainly be strengthened, and an interest rate hike is possible soon, said an analyst.
The 10.7% GDP clip was faster than preliminary official estimates of 10.5%. It was up from 10.4% in 2005 and was the briskest rate since 10.9% in 1995.
The National Bureau of Statistics said GDP between October and December rose 10.4% from a year earlier, slowing a bit from an upwardly revised 10.6% pace in the third quarter.