China has cut its annual economic growth target for the first time in eight years, lowering its forecast to below 8% for the first time since 2004.
In the clearest sign yet that China's economy can no longer supply double-digit growth rates, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao said the government's target for economic growth in 2012 was 7.5%, well below forecasts seen since 2005.
While lower, China's growth rate remains well above that seen in Western economies, in particular the US.
Wen said the next phase of the country's development was to refocus the economy on domestic consumption and away from investment.
According to the Financial Times, Wen said: "The key to solving the problems of imbalanced, uncoordinated, unsustainable development [in China] is to accelerate the transformation of the pattern of economic development.
"This is both a long-term task and our most pressing task at present."
Re-balancing away from investment will be tricky for China.
Investment accounts for almost half of total spending in China, compared with less than a third in developing economies as a whole. The International Monetary Fund sees little prospect of a big shift over the next four years.
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