China Dujiangyan Gate

The Chinese economy grew by 6.9% in the third quarter of 2015, official figures show.

It is the slowest growth rate the country has seen since the financial crisis and dips below the government's official target of 7%, despite remaining slightly above market expectations.

Many analysts had predicted growth of 6.8% following volatile trading in Chinese stocks over the summer and a string of weak economic data.

The latest growth figures are likely to heap even more pressure on the Chinese government to step up monetary policy.

Why the slowdown?

China has been among the fastest growing economies in the world for the past quarter of a century, posting double-digit growth for much of that period.

Its rapidly growing economy has been built on strong manufacturing and exports.

But that is changing. The Chinese government wants to move away from an export-led economy to a consumer-led one, instead.

Despite the government's official target of 7%, Premier Li Keqiang has previously said that slower growth would be acceptable, but only if enough jobs were created.

A spokesperson for China's statistics agency said: "In order to restructure, the economy will face some downward pressure.

"All this indicates the restructuring and upgrading of the Chinese economy are going steadily."