Communiqué on the Fourth National Economic Census (No. 1)

National Bureau of Statistics of China 2019-11-20 10:00 Print| Large| Medium| Small

Communiqué on the Fourth National Economic Census (No. 1)

---- The fourth national economic census completed successfully


National Bureau of Statistics of China

Office of the Leading Group of the State Council for the

Fourth National Economic Census

November 20 , 2019


According to the Regulations on National Economic Census and the Notice of the State Council on Conducting the Fourth National Economic Census [NO. (2017) 53], China carried out its fourth national economic census with Dec. 31, 2018 as the reference time and the year of 2018 as the reporting period. The economic census covered all legal entities, establishments and self-employed units which were engaged in the secondary and tertiary industries within the territory of China. According to the coordinated arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, with the co-efforts made by the census institutions in all government departments, all regions and at all levels, and with the arduous work of the enumerators over the past two years and the active participation of census respondents, the fourth national economic census achieved major accomplishments and significant outcomes with tasks in census design, entities inventory checking, field enumeration, post-enumeration check, data aggregation and evaluation all fully completed.


1. Effective Coordination and Strong Leadership


On 21st May, 2018, the State Council set up the Leading Group for the Fourth National Economic Census with Vice Premier Han Zheng as the Group leader. The Leading Group consists of 34 government departments with its head office set up at the National Bureau of Statistics of China. Upholding the principle of “unified leadership nationwide, labour division and cooperation among government departments, tiered responsibilities at local levels, and participation from all aspects”, all governments above and at the town/township, street community and county levels as well as relevant government departments set up census institutions, which provided solid institutional guarantee to the census implementation. Local governments at different levels strengthened all-round leadership, carefully organized and implemented census, brought the staff, measures and funds all in place. Involved government departments actively fulfilled their responsibilities with functions fully played, provided multi-faceted guarantees, and ensured successful implementation of this census.


2. A Full Picture of National Conditions


The Fourth National Economic Census is an essential survey of China’s national conditions and strength after socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered into a new era. It is a complete “physical inspection” of China’s national economy during the course that China is securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and embarking on a journey to fully build a modernized socialist China. From 1st January to 30th April, 2019, over 1.6 million enumerators at local levels overcame all types of difficulties and collected data in field one by one from legal entities, establishments, and selected self-employed units engaged in secondary and tertiary industries within the territory of China. This census has measured the scale, layout and performance of the secondary and tertiary industries, grasped the industrial organization, industrial structure, industrial technology, forms of industry and composition of production factors, and got a clear picture of the assets and liabilities of all legal entities and the development of the emerging industries. It has also further verified the basic information, the output of major products, and service activities of all units, and accurately reflected the latest development of the supply-side structural reform, the growth of the new driving forces and the optimization and upgrading of economic structure in a comprehensive way.


3. Scientific Methods Adopted


By the principle of “quality assurance, reform and innovation, key aspects emphasized, census by law, result sharing”, the Office of the Leading Group of the State Council for the Fourth National Economic Census (hereinafter referred to as the “Office of the Leading Group”) drew on experience from previous censuses and strengthened top-down design, with a view to conduct a more scientific and normative census. After completing special pilot tests in six provinces (municipalities) and comprehensive pilot tests in five provinces (municipalities), the Office of the Leading Group formulated the Plan for the Fourth National Economic Census and the business process with 13 steps, as well as printed and distributed the implementation approaches such as Organization and Implementation Plan for Data Review and Acceptance and Working Plan for Census Data Review to ensure the organized implementation of the economic census. With regard to the methodology, the fourth national economic census undertook a thorough inventory checking on all legal entities, establishments and those self-employed engaged in secondary and tertiary industries within the jurisdiction area. After the thorough inventory checking, a full-coverage survey was conducted on legal entities and establishments engaged in secondary and tertiary industries at principal places of business and on legal entities engaged in construction industry at the place of registration; as for the large number of self-employed units, a sample survey was conducted at the principal place of business. The information collected by this census include basic situation of units, organizational structure, compensation of employees, financial situation, energy production and consumption, production capacity, production and management activities, fixed assets investment, research and development activities, informatization and e-commerce transactions and etc. Questionnaires are also tailored to respondents, such as questionnaires for units above designated size or with qualifications, for units below designated size or without qualifications, for self-employed, and for government departments.


4. Census Innovation


To reduce respondent burden and improve efficiency, this census significantly improved the involvement of government departments by actively applying the results of “Five-in-One Business License” reform. Administrative records and information collected in daily work from government departments were actively used at the stage of inventory checking and enumeration, with business registers collected and compiled from 44 government departments and about 100 million data for basic sheets generated through comparison and combination. This census was also more informatized in terms of data collection. The coverage of units submitting through the online direct reporting platform was expanded, data collection through Portable Android Devices (PADs) was promoted across the country, auto identification and auto coding were widely used, and the whole process of census data production was digitalized and networked, all having greatly improved the efficiency of data collection and data processing.


5. Stronger Law Enforcement and Supervision


Census institutions and enumerators at all levels stuck to the Statistics Law of the People's Republic of China and the Regulations on National Economic Census, enumerated and submitted data independently, and protected respondents' information by law. Data tracking and accountability mechanism for data quality assurance was established and improved, and greater efforts were made to deal with violations of disciplines and law, all ensuring data frauds would be investigated to the end. The Office of the Leading Group proactively adopted a transparent working process and volunteered to receive supervision from the media and the society. The Office of Leading Group also recruited 31 volunteers from the public via internet to supervise the census by involving themselves in the whole process of post enumeration quality check.


6. Data Quality Assurance


The fourth national economic census adopted the whole-process data quality assurance mechanism. To ensure the census data were authentic and reliable, census institutions at all levels focused on the quality of source data, monitored the real-time data collection and reporting, enhanced the data verification and operation guidance of face-to-face interview, conducted self-check and spot check on source data, insisted on data review at all levels, and eliminated errors on time. To evaluate the effects of the census work and the quality of census data, the Office of the Leading Group conducted the largest post enumeration check ever by sampling 249 counties (cities, districts, banners) from 31 provinces (regions, municipalities), 996 enumeration areas and 21,808 units. The sample method adopted was "resurvey", a more objective and accurate method that had replaced the previous "reinterview" which used the enumeration data as reference. The post enumeration check showed that the combined error rate was 1.09%, which has reached the standard set for data quality.


Generally speaking, the expected goals for the fourth national economic census were reached. With the whole process being transparent and modern information technologies fully deployed, this census portrayed a general picture of China's secondary and tertiary industries and truly reflected China's social and economic development. The census results showed that by the end of 2018, 21.789 million legal entities in total were engaged in secondary and tertiary industries, up by 100.7 percent compared with that of the third national economic census in 2013; the number of persons employed was 383.236 million, up by 7.6 percent; that of establishments was 24.550 million, up by 88.3 percent; and that of self-employed was 62.959 million.


(In case of any difference between English translation and the original Chinese text, the Chinese edition shall prevail.)