BEIJING, Feb. 1 -- China's economy has gotten off to a good start in 2023, as shown by encouraging indicators ranging from tourism and box office revenues to the purchasing managers' index (PMI).
During the weeklong Spring Festival holiday, China saw nearly 2.9 million cross-border trips, up 120.5 percent year on year, and 308 million domestic trips, up 23.1 percent and back to 88.6 percent of the 2019 level for the same period. The country's box office raked in 6.76 billion yuan (about 1 billion U.S. dollars), the second-highest gross figure for the annual holiday, topped only by 2021. The PMI for China's manufacturing sector came in at 50.1 in January, returning to expansion after three consecutive months of contraction.
Increasing activity and mobility signal that the world's second-largest economy is set to see a faster-than-expected recovery this year. The current momentum is built upon China's hard-won economic performance amid COVID-19 pandemic and mounting global uncertainties.
Compared with other major economies, China has successfully reduced the impact of the pandemic on its economic and social development to the greatest extent. It posted a growth rate of 2.2 percent in 2020, becoming the only major economy to realize growth that year. It has remained a standout engine for the world economy, growing 8.4 percent in 2021 and 3 percent in 2022. Over the past three years, China's average growth rate reached 4.5 percent, far higher than the global average of approximately 2 percent, and its annual rates were also much higher than those of major economies such as the United States and Germany.
The key to China's economic growth lies in its effective coordination of COVID-19 prevention and control with economic and social development under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. Institutional strengths, such as the mobilization of resources to accomplish major initiatives, enabled the nation to secure strategic outcomes in its COVID-19 fight in early 2020, and allowed it to tackle more than 100 cluster infections quickly nationwide. This meant that economic activity could resume at an accelerated pace, as long as the virus was brought under control in affected areas.
Thanks to its consistent opening-up policy, China has maintained growth in foreign trade and the actual use of foreign investment for the past three years. For high-quality growth, its innovation strategy has sharpened the international competitiveness of Chinese enterprises and contributed to the development of high-tech industries, including aviation and aerospace, cloud computing and artificial intelligence. The value of China's booming digital economy accounted for 39.8 percent of its GDP in 2021.
The size of China's economy has exceeded 120 trillion yuan. With the most complete industrial system in the world, an increasingly complete infrastructure network, more resilient industrial and supply chains, and an improved ability to ensure food, energy and resource security, the Chinese economy now enjoys a more solid material foundation to maintain stable, healthy and sustainable development.
As global growth is projected to fall in 2023 from the 2022 level, international institutions are widely upbeat about China's growth prospects. The International Monetary Fund on Monday projected that China's economy will grow by 5.2 percent in 2023, 0.8 percentage points higher than its October 2022 forecast. An earlier flagship report from the United Nations forecast China's GDP growth would hit 4.8 percent this year.
In terms of its arduous COVID-19 fight or its remarkable economic growth, China has been continuing to play its role as an active participant in the joint construction of a community with a shared future for humanity, and its role as a key driving force for the world economy. With its optimized COVID-19 response and advancement of high-quality growth, China will continue to share its development bonus with the rest of the world.