China's trade surplus surged 48.1 percent to $231.1 billion in 2012 from the previous year, though total trade volume grew at a much slower pace, according to the latest official data.
Exports from the world's second-largest economy rose 7.9 percent to $2.05 trillion, while imports increased 4.3 percent to $1.82 trillion, the national customs bureau said on Thursday.
China's trade volume, or the total of exports and imports, grew 6.2 percent in 2012, well below the government target of about 10 percent.
Customs spokesman Zheng Yuesheng said 2012's performance came "despite a sharply slowing world economic recovery, weak international market demand and rather big downside pressure on the domestic economy".
Zheng told reporters: "China's foreign trade continued to grow steadily and made further progress in improving quality, increasing profits and optimising structure."