Chinese GDP growth fell to 6.9 per cent last year and, for the first time, the nation’s services sector accounted for more than half of its economy.
As the AFR reports, this growth figure is the worst for the world’s second largest economy for about 25 years and it reflects Beijing’s intention to move from manufacturing and exports to local consumption and a stronger services sector.
According to the Wall Street Journal, growth in the industrial sector dropped to 6.0% in 2015 (from 7.3% in 2014) and services grew to 8.3% in 2015 (from 7.8% in 2014).
Services now make up 50.5% of the Chinese economy (from 48.1% in 2014), while manufacturing now accounts for just 40.5% of the economy.
Some economists are concerned that the change doesn’t have much to do with policy.
“You can achieve rebalancing in two ways: you grow the smaller bit faster or you shrink the larger bit,” Oliver Barron, China research director with North Square Blue Oak investment bank told WSJ.
“Clearly they’re achieving restructuring. But it’s mostly from the slowing industrial sector. It’s not like they’re all of a sudden getting double-digit growth rates because of great government policy.”
Factory workers are now feeling the harsh effects of the change. Mr Liu, a worker from a shoe factory in Dongguan Provence told Sky News he had lost his job.
"They have terminated our contracts, so we need to look for new jobs."
"It's obvious business is not as good as it used to be. In the past, our industrial zone had more than 10,000 people, now only a few thousand are left."
Liu and his family are now returning to their original homes.