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The Chinese government is playing down its new status as the world's second-largest economy. The Commerce Ministry says China is still a developing country, and it needs to focus on improving living standards for millions of impoverished people.
The Ministry spokesman says the quality of China's economic development still needs to be raised. The country has 40 million people living below its official poverty line. He stressed focus shouldn't only be on gross domestic product data, but also on per-capita GDP.
China eclipsed Japan as the second-largest economy behind the U.S., after Tokyo reported a smaller quarterly GDP on Monday. But with a population of 1.3 billion, China ranks among the poorest countries per person.
The annual average per capita income stood at 3,600 U.S. dollars last year. That's compared with Japan's 37,800 U.S. dollars.