China's power consumption, a key barometer of economic activity, has logged steady expansion since the beginning of this year amid the country's economic rebound.
Electricity data especially highlights the growth in the industrial and service sectors, as factories operate at full capacity and consumer demand further expands.
Total power use in China grew 4.7 percent year on year to 2.81 trillion kilowatt-hours between January and April, data from the National Energy Administration (NEA) showed.
Specifically, the country's power consumption rose 2.3 percent yearly during the first two months. The growth accelerated to 5.9 percent in March and rose further to 8.3 percent in April, forming a solid trend of continuous rebound.
April's figure underlined robust recovery in multiple fields of the industrial sector. For example, electricity use in automobile manufacturing surged 33.8 percent year on year, while that for electrical machinery and equipment manufacturing jumped 28.8 percent.
Power consumed by China's secondary industry increased by 5 percent in the January-April period. The figure went up 7.6 percent in April, indicating an accelerating recovery of the industrial and construction sectors.
Yang Kun, vice president of the China Electricity Council (CEC), stressed the month-by-month power consumption increase of the secondary sector, noting that industrial power consumption growth outpaced the country's average level.
"The continuous recovery of production is an important driving force for the sustained expansion of industrial electricity consumption," Yang said.
During the first four months, power use in China's manufacturing sector rose 4.5 percent annually to about 1.38 trillion kilowatt-hours. The CEC said that consumption went up 7.1 percent in April.
Among various fields in manufacturing, high-tech and equipment manufacturing attracted specific attention with rapid power use growth, indicating China's progress in industrial transformation and upgrade.
Data from the CEC showed the combined electricity use of China's high-tech and equipment manufacturing sectors climbed 6.4 percent year on year in the first four months. In April alone, consumption soared 13.4 percent.
"China's industrial power use has seen steady expansion since the beginning of this year, and the growth rate has significantly picked up," said Zheng Haifeng, a researcher with the State Grid Corporation of China (State Grid). Zheng expected the growth rate will continue to rise in the second quarter.
Similar to the secondary sector, China's service sector also registered considerable expansion in power consumption this year. Statistics showed the sector's electricity use was up 7 percent year on year to 485.2 billion kilowatt-hours in the January-April period, and the growth hit 17.9 percent yearly in April.
Several major sub-sectors, including accommodation and catering, transport, warehousing and postal services, and wholesale and retail services, all reported year-on-year power consumption growth of over 25 percent.
"A distinctive feature of power consumption in April is the rapid growth of electricity use in the tertiary industry," said Li Xinggui, a China Southern Power Grid manager. "This shows the full recovery of the country's service industry and consumption."
For example, power use of the service sector in south China's Guangdong Province climbed 9 percent year on year in the first four months, contributing 54 percent of the province's total power consumption growth.
In the same period, electricity use of the service sector accounted for more than one-third of Shenzhen's total power consumption, data collected from the company's service regions showed.
Electricity data also tracked the boom in consumer goods production. Power use of consumer goods manufacturers went up 2.5 percent year on year in the first four months, with a pace 1.2 percentage points faster than that in the same period last year, noted State Grid's service data.
Ten out of the 13 sector fields recorded year-on-year power use growth, with that for pharmaceutical manufacturing hitting 9.5 percent.