China's Finance Ministry announced Monday a new investment of $19.1 billion in improvements to infrastructure, which follows the approval last September of $157 billion in spending on highway, port and airport projects.

The additional money will go toward improvements of existing roads, both major highways and secondary routes in rural areas, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The world's second-largest economy slowed markedly in 2012 as growth came in at 7.8 percent, a far cry from the annual double-digit gains China has posted in recent decades.

News of more money for infrastructure comes after the launch last week of an ambitious program aimed at reducing China's widening inequality.

By 2015, according to the plan, the minimum wage should be at least 40 percent of the average pay for urban workers.

China's Communist rulers are trying to boost domestic consumption in the face of continuing economic weakness in the United States and Europe - the chief markets for Chinese exports. EFE