China's gross domestic product expanded 7.8 percent in the third quarter from the same period of last year to 38.67 trillion yuan ($6.3 trillion), its fastest growth rate of 2013, the government said Friday.

For the first nine months of the year, China's GDP rose 7.7 percent, slightly above the government's 7.5 percent growth target for all of 2013.

"Chinese economic growth has remained stable, and the main indicators remain within the targeted levels," National Bureau of Statistics spokesman Sheng Laiyun told a press conference.

"The major economic indicators favor promoting economic restructuring and pushing forward with reforms," Sheng said, referring to long-term plans to make China less dependent on foreign markets.

China's economy has gradually cooled in recent quarters as the country's export-driven growth model has suffered from a drop in demand stemming from global economic woes.

Authorities have announced plans to implement reforms aimed at boosting domestic demand and guaranteeing stable - though less spectacular - long-term growth.

A series of reforms are expected to be unveiled next month during a meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

In a speech last week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping said 7 percent annual growth would be sufficient to meet a goal of doubling the country's GDP and per-capita GDP by 2020.

However, he acknowledged that the challenges China faces, including a drop in external demand, excess production capacity and local governments' indebtedness, are "especially difficult." EFE