China's economic growth dipped below 7 percent for the first time since the global financial crisis on Monday, hurt partly by cooling investment, raising pressure on Beijing to further cut interest rates and take other measures to stoke activity.
The world's second-largest economy grew 6.9 percent between July and September from a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics said, slightly better than forecasts of a 6.8 percent rise but down from 7 percent in the previous three months.
That hardened expectations that China would avoid an abrupt fall-off in growth, with analysts predicting a more gradual slide in activity stretching into 2016.
"Underlying conditions are subdued but stable," said Julian Evans-Pritchard, an analyst at Capital Economics in Singapore. "Stronger fiscal spending and more rapid credit growth will limit the downside risks to growth over the coming quarters."