BEIJING, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Recently issued data indicated that China's maritime economy has become a new engine for growth, as it has grown faster than the country's actual GDP in recent years.
The sector saw a 13.5-percent annual growth rate during the 2006-2010 period, exceeding the overall economic growth rate. Its total output last year hit 4.56 trillion yuan (720 billion U.S. dollars) in 2011, more than double that seen in 2006, according to data released Thursday by the Ministry of Land and Resources.
With output accounting for 9.7 percent of the nation's GDP last year, the maritime sector also employed 34.2 million workers, the data showed.
Traditional maritime industries have continued to expand. China now has the world's greatest shipping capacity, as its 20 ports each have an annual cargo throughput capacity exceeding 100 million tonnes. China is also the world's biggest ship manufacturer, exporting vessels to 169 countries and regions.
Emerging maritime industries, such as offshore wind power and tidal power-generating electricity projects, are being commercialized or are in trials. Other new trends, such as extracting metal from seawater and maritime entertainment services, are also developing rapidly, according to the ministry.
China's coastline measures 32,000 km in length, according to the ministry's data. The country also has more than 6,500 islands and islets measuring 500 square meters in area and administers nearly 3 million square km of maritime territory.