China's economy, the world's second-largest, has expanded at its slowest pace in almost three years.
Gross domestic product increased by an annual rate of 8.1% in the first quarter, down from 8.9% in the previous three months, the BBC reported.
That is less than many analysts had forecast with most of them expecting a figure closer to 8.3%.
China has been hit by a drop in demand in key markets including the US and Europe. At the same time domestic demand has proved tough to stimulate.
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