Hu Jintao, the Chinese president, made the announcement in a speech at the Great Hall of the People during a meeting with Lien Chan, the former chairman of Taiwan's nationalist party on Sunday.

"The mainland economy maintained good developmental momentum with our GDP in the first quarter rising by 10.2%," Hu said.

The figure was well above previous growth estimates for this year.

Hu said the government is concerned about overly rapid growth. China's economy expanded by 9.9% in 2005.

"Frankly speaking, we do not hope to pursue extremely high speed (growth), we are paying more attention to the efficiency and quality of development.

"We are paying more attention to the transformation of the mode of growth, resource conservation, environmental protection and more importantly the improvement of the lives of the people," he said.

Hu repeated the previously announced figure of 25% growth in China's foreign trade during the first quarter of the year.

He did not announce any other first quarter economic data during the meeting which focused on trade between China and Taiwan.

GDP figures and other economic data for March are due to be released by the National Bureau of Statistics on April 20.