China watchers who eyed earlier projections for China's economic growth with skepticism have been vindicated—sort of. Revised figures out of Beijing show that the growth rate in 2005 was not the 9.4 percent originally predicted—it was actually an unexpectedly strong 9.8 percent. The new figure reflects the results of a national economic survey released in December, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua. That survey incorporates a more accurate accounting of the previously underestimated service sector.
The new report has triggered a shakeup in the world's rankings. Mainland China has replaced Italy as the world's sixth-largest economy, trailing the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain and France.
As for 2006, China's GDP is expected to grow between 8.3 percent and 9.3 percent, the State Information Center think tank said in a report published in Shanghai Securities News. If China fulfills those expectations, look for more shakeups ahead. China could well overtake both Britain and France this year.