China still lags behind the United States in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), said RISS expert Nataliya Gribova.

“It can be said that modern China in many respects is both a developing and developed country,” she told Xinhua in a recent interview, because different regions in China differ sharply in terms of socio-economic development.

Gribova said the level of some of China’s eastern coastal cities is comparable to that of developed economies, while the level of some poorer provinces in the west of the country is comparable to that of developing ones.

The share of services and consumption in China’s GDP, although it is growing at a rapid pace, is still at a lower level than that of developed countries, she said.

Nevertheless, Gribova said she was impressed by China’s economic growth, which has allowed the country to significantly improve the living standard of its population and lift millions of people out of poverty.

“After 40 years of reform and opening-up, China has demonstrated unprecedented growth from a backward agricultural country to the world’s second-largest economy and the largest trader in goods,” she said.

Gribova said that China is now attaching greater importance to the quality of its economic growth.

“The fundamentally important transition of China from the stage of quantitative growth to the stage of high-quality development will create, in case of successful implementation, a solid foundation for the sustainable growth of the Chinese economy in the future,” she said.