High-rise buildings and skyscrapers dominate the skyline of the Huangpu River and the Lujiazui Financial District in Pudong, Shanghai. [Photo/Sipa] China's economy grew more than expected last year, even as the rest of the world was upended by the coronavirus pandemic, CNN reported in a Monday story titled "China's economy grows 2.3% in 2020 as recovery quickens". During a year when a crippling pandemic plunged major world economies into recession, China has clearly come out on top, beating expectations. The International Monetary Fund, for example, predicted China's economy would grow 1.9 percent in 2020, and the only major world economy the IMF expected to grow. The Chinese economy grew 6.5 percent in the final quarter of 2020 compared to the previous year, ending on a strong note despite challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, CNBC said on Monday. The pace of the recovery appears to be accelerating: fourth-quarter GDP growth was faster than the third quarter's 4.9 percent growth, CNN added. "The Q4 number is remarkable," Haibin Zhu, chief China economist at JPMorgan, told CNBC after the latest Chinese economic data were released. "If you look at Q4's 6.5 percent — that's even higher than the pre-pandemic growth path. From that perspective, China's V-shape recovery is complete," he added. The recent increase in COVID cases is not likely to derail China's economic recovery in the near term, experts say. In fact, several economists expect double-digit growth rates for the first quarter of 2021. Iris Pang, chief economist for Greater China at Dutch bank ING, said in a Monday note the Chinese economy is forecast to grow by 12 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period a year ago — partly owing to a low base of comparison. For 2021, ING has projected a 7 percent growth rate for China. Analysts at UBS also said in a note, "We expect China's GDP growth to rebound to 8.2 percent in 2021, led by exports and domestic consumption."