China has reported a near-19% rise in exports in March, according to official figures, leading many to question whether not its economy has been as affected by a global slump as first feared.

Combined with a 1.7% fall in imports compared with last year, China now has a trade surplus of 194.6 billion yuan (£21bn).

The country's GDP figures will be published later this week and are expected to show growth of 6.8% in the first three months of the year.

Earlier this year, official data showed that the Chinese economy grew by 6.9% in 2015, its slowest growth in 25 years. With various economic measures showing a slowdown, economists have attributed woes in the global economy to China's problems.

Much of China's economic troubles are down to a major shift in focus implemented by the government. The second-largest economy in the world has also been one of the fastest growing over the past quarter of a century. That rapid growth - upwards of 7% - has largely been down to its manufacturing prowess. China has been a nation of making things and exporting it around the world for much of that time. How many times have you seen 'Made in China' on the bottom of a product? But the Chinese government wants that to change. Instead of a manufacturing and export-led economy, it wants China's growth to be driven by services, much like the UK's is.