China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology reported Friday that manufacturing enjoyed steady expansion in the first three quarters of 2017 and had its best year-on-year growth since 2015.
The numbers were released at a press conference at the State Council Information Office.
Large industrial enterprises achieved 6.7 percent year-on-year growth rate in the first nine months of this year, the ministry said. That was 0.7 percentage points higher than last year and 0.5 points higher than 2015. Revenue and profits of industrial enterprises also improved substantially as China continues its restructuring of the sector.
Amid concerns of a slowing economy, ministry spokesperson Zheng Lixin said the efforts of industrial supply-side reform were paying off. The growth of the manufacturing sector has outperformed that of the industrial economy as a whole by 0.6 percentage points, reaching a 7.3 percent year-on-year growth. Electronics, hi-tech and equipment manufacturing led the growth, exceeding that of the whole industrial economy by 7.2, 6.7 and 4.4 percentage points respectively.
In the first nine months, there was a 30.8 percent increase of new energy cars production, a 69.4 percent increase in industrial robots and 22.1 percent in integrated circuits. Progress has also been made in upgrading consumption and cutting capacity in steel and coal production.
Meanwhile, China's tech sector is continuing to flourish. Fresh data shows that the transaction volume in China's telecommunications sector grew 63 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters of this year. That came as revenues from the Internet and related services rose by 21.8 percent compared to the same period last year.
China has built the world's largest fiber optic broadband and 4G network and has initiated action plans to further develop the 5G network, the Internet of things and cloud computing. But authorities say they are aware that not all regions of China are developing in a uniform fashion. To bridge the digital gap between urban and rural areas, the State Council approved a compensation mechanism in 2015 that decided to increase financial investment and unite the central and local governments as well as businesses to promote better Internet access in rural and remote regions.
Wen Ku, director of the the ministry's Department of Communications Development, said there had been a joint investment of over 40 billion yuan, or 6 billion US dollars in building Internet infrastructure during the past two years, covering 130,000 administrative villages, including 43,000 that are poverty-stricken. So far, 96 percent of the administrative villages are connected to a fixed broadband network.