Improved economic structure
The economic structure has been improved, as innovation and consumption increasingly become important growth driving forces for the local economy, Xing said, noting that "under the new normal, the transformation of Guangdong's economic structure and the change in [economic driving forces] has picked up pace."
Total sales of consumer goods in Guangdong exceeded 3.5 trillion yuan, up 10.2 percent year-on-year, while the services sectors also grew fast, with profits earned by major services firms increasing 21.7 percent year-on-year, according to the official data.
This comes as the old growth driving forces lag behind. For instance, Guangdong, once dubbed the "world factory," used to rely heavily on trade, but exports were down 0.8 percent and imports remains unchanged in 2016.
Xing further stated that the efforts by Guangdong's provincial government to maintain balance between stabilizing growth and implementing structural reforms helped its economic growth during the year.
Additionally, Guangdong's position as an open and market-oriented economy makes it more adoptive to changes and easier to maintain balance, according to Ding Li, a regional economy expert at the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences.
"Cutting outdated capacity, while adding effective supply is a key part of the structural reform, and the market can decide better than any other forces," Ding told the Global Times on Monday. "Guangdong has better experience in this area."