China's economic growth slowed in the first three months of the year amid concern about the strength of its gradual recovery.

The world's second-biggest economy expanded 7.7 percent in the first quarter from the previous quarter's 7.9 percent

The figures reported Monday fell short of forecasts that growth would rise to at least 8 percent.

China's growth rebounded late last year from its deepest slump since the 2008 global crisis but analysts say a recovery will be weak and still is being supported by government spending.

Some analysts have warned the recovery could be vulnerable if trade or investment weakens.