For decades, GDP has been the preeminent measure of economic performance. GDP is used as the key parameter to determine the economic status of a country. In many countries, GDP is the main assessment tool of the performance of government officials. GDP numbers also shape economic policies around the world. However, in recent years, there has been an increasing recognition of the inadequacy of GDP as a tool to measure progress. Not all gains and losses in an economy are reflected in the GDP numbers. Social and environmental happenings that do not involve money are not counted in the GDP numbers, although these activities/events are crucial to the well-being and happiness of human beings. For example, trees that provide shade, generate oxygen, and revitalises soil are not counted in the GDP number, but when they are chopped down and sold for building materials, they are.
Hence, in recent years, efforts have been made to move beyond the GDP framework in order to measure progress in a more holistic manner. In terms of economic growth measured by the conventional GDP, China’s performance is second to none. However, China’s many successes in economic development have seldom been reported or received the due attention. For example, Shanghai has probably more trees planted than Hong Kong. China has the largest number of environmentally-friendly electric motor cycles in the world is another.