After last month's statement that the size of China's economy had been underestimated by 17%, or $284 billion, in 2004, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday revised gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2004 from 9.5% to 10.1%.

Growth in 2003 was also revised from 9.5% to 10%.

The new figures mean that between 1993 and 2004, China's economy expanded at an average rate of 9.9%, up from the 9.4% given in figures reported previously. 

Last month, the government said that after a new survey, China's economy was worth nearly 16 trillion yuan ($1.98 trillion) in 2004. 

That revision was largely due to earlier miscalculations in the size of the service and private sectors, which had traditionally been seen as "grey areas" in China's statistics gathering methods. 

Leapfrogging France

Monday's data reflected a revision of China's GDP statistics back to 1993, the last time an economic census on the service industry was taken, the NBS said. 

"In order to maintain the historical comparison of the GDP, and
in accordance with international practices, the NBS has revised the historical GDP numbers from before 2004," it said. 

Frank Gong, an economist at JP Morgan, said the announcement was simply a recalculation so growth numbers were consistent with the December figures on the size of the economy.

With the 2005 economic data due out soon, China is likely officially to overtake France and Britain to become the world's fourth-largest economy behind the United States, Japan and Germany. 

Economists estimate that China's economy grew between 8% and 9% in 2005, much faster than the economies of most developed countries such as France or Britain.