China's economy, the world's second largest, is showing signs of a rebound that could help it emerge from its worst economic period in 13 years. According to the latest government figures, growth picked up to 7.9% in the final three months of 2012, from 7.4% in the previous quarter. This was driven by state investment in infrastructure projects and efforts to get consumers and companies to spend. Economic stability is seen as vital for China as its new leaders take over. That may prove tricky, not least because China's economic growth has slowed significantly from the highs of previous years, and analysts warn that state stimulus measures may wane. On Friday, the statistical office reported that gross domestic product, the main measure of growth, increased by 7.8% in 2012, down from 9.3% in 2011. That was the slowest annual rate of growth since 1999. But it is still way above the anaemic growth rates experienced by most other major economies last year. Figures for the U.S., the world's largest economy, and Japan, the third largest, are expected to show growth of about 2%. The 17 members of the eurozone are collectively expected to contract by about 0.4%. Along with the longer-term reasons for the slowdown, there are some other factors affecting China in the short term. Slower growth in the U.S. and Europe have seen demand soften for Chinese products. At the same time, China has struggled to stoke its domestic demand. The government also took measures to cool the property market amid fears that a bubble was developing, something that also impacted the speed at which the economy expanded. These factors brought down the pace of growth late last year to uncomfortable levels, with some economists predicting a "hard landing", or a sharp slowdown. However, their pessimistic predictions of a slump to growth of 6% seem to have been too extreme. Instead the government implemented infrastructure spending programmes to spur growth and also provided incentives to encourage consumer spending and corporate borrowing.