The 2012 expansion was the weakest in a decade, the National Bureau of Statistics reported, blaming the global slowdown and domestic woes. China's export-dependent economy has been hurt by the eurozone crisis and the slowdown in the United States, two of its largest markets.
The good news was the economy, thanks to the Chinese government's pro-growth measures, expanded 7.9 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2102, ending a seven-straight-quarter slowdown, the bureau said, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
China's gross domestic product in 2012 reached 51.93 trillion yuan, or $8.28 trillion, the report said.
Separately, the NBS said China's industrial production growth slowed in 2012 to 10 percent from 13.9 percent in 2011.
Policymakers under Xi Jinping, China's new reform-minded leader, have said the country will show "greater courage and intelligence" in promoting market reforms in 2013 as it faces major economic challenges due to the global economic crisis and its own declining growth rates from earlier years' double-digit numbers.
At their meeting last month, the policymakers said cutting taxes, helping more rural workers settle in cities so they can help boost domestic demand and reducing dependence on exports will be among the reforms pursued through steady economic growth.
China in 2013 is expected maintain this year's growth level of 7.5 percent.