Since the beginning of the economic reforms implemented in the industrial sectors of China, the economy has grown and changed rapidly. The high GDP growth rates recorded since 1985 have stimulated unprecedented changes in the economic structure of this developing economy. The major causes of the changes are: the increase in consumption and investment, production technological change and trade. The objective was to analyse this type of structural change, and to explore the sources of economic growth during the period 1987–1997, by using the method of structural decomposition analysis (SDA). The chosen SDA method, based on the comparison between two input–output tables, allowed us to decompose each sector's and industry's output growth; it enabled the relative impact of final demand and technological change of each industry on overall growthto be measured.