China's gross domestic product (GDP) reached 30.0670 trillion yuan ($4.4216 trillion) in 2008, up 9 percent year on year, said the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Thursday.
The growth was the slowest since 2001, when an annual rate of 8.3 percent was recorded, and the first time below a double-digit level since 2003.
The overall national economy maintained the good developing momentum of fast growth, stable prices, optimized structures and improved welfare, said Ma Jiantang, director of the NBS, at a press conference.
The annual growth rate for the fourth quarter dipped to 6.8 percent from 9.0 percent in the third quarter and 9.9 percent for the first three quarters, according to Ma.
"The international financial crisis is deepening and spreading, while its negative impact on domestic economy is continuing," said Ma.
Despite the fourth-quarter slowdown, Ma said the 9-percent pace was "still a high figure".
China's performance was better than the average growth of 3.7 percent for the world economy last year, 1.4 percent for developed countries and 6.6 percent for developing and emerging economies, he said, citing estimates of the International Monetary Fund.
"With a 9-percent rate, China actually contributed to more than20 percent of the global economic growth in 2008," said Ma.
(Xinhua News Agency January 22, 2009)