China economy
China, world's second largest economy, enjoyed double-digit growth for more than a decadeReuters

China's economy grew at 6.9% in 2015 making it the slowest pace of growth in the country for 25 years. Official data released by Beijing showed the growth rate for the fourth quarter of 2015 was 6.8%.

The growth slowdown was in line with the global market expectations, yet it is likely to set alarm bells ringing in other major world economies. China's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at 7.3% in 2014 and the government had originally set the target of "about 7%" for 2015.

"This is a good number. We've known for the last three years that the Chinese authorities are slowing down the economy. This economy is going to slow down," Jahangir Aziz, chief of emerging Asia economic research at JPMorgan, told CNBC.

"In August last year, there was almost a fear that the economy was in freefall. There was no policy support. I think all that has changed. We will see the numbers going closer to 6.5% and more policy support. The policy setting has changed over the last two months. We're not going to see the kind of heartburn we saw last year."

The Chinese government has been struggling to arrest the slide but Premier Li Keqiang kept insisting the numbers are acceptable if new jobs are routinely created. Any concerns over the economic health of China, which once enjoyed a double-digit growth for more than a decade, is likely to raise fears of spillover to other nations.

Top Chinese leaders held an economic policy meeting on 18 January, a day before the release of the GDP data. President Xi Jinping urged officials "to stabilise short-term growth".

Not many are optimistic about the latest figures. "The real economy basically hasn't picked up very well. We're going to have a choppier sea ahead of us," Nomura Group economist Yang Zhao told the Wall Street Journal.

Even if Beijing decides to cut interest rates — China's central bank has already cut it six times since November 2014 — and increases spending, the economy is expected to cool further in 2016. China, with its $10tn economy, has been a major driving force for global growth for more than a decade.