China needs new growth indicators other than GDP: economist

Updated: Nov 29, 2017

BEIJING - China needs to develop a system of indicators to account for growth quality, a prominent economist has said.

While GDP is still important in terms of the scale of an economy, it does not account for structural change or efficiency, said Jia Kang, chief economist with the China Academy of New Supply-side Economics.

"China has goals of basically realizing socialist modernization by 2035 and building a great modern socialist country by the middle of this century. These targets need to be defined by indicators that do not yet exist," Jia said.

For example, the construction of an urban rail system usually does not generate enough returns to cover the costs, but it brings social benefits that need to be quantified as a reference for government incentives, Jia said during a panel discussion at the Caijing Annual Conference.

Energy consumption per unit of GDP is a good example and more indicators of this kind should measure economic efficiency, said Jia.

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