This was up from the 6 percent increase in the same period of previous year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
On a quarterly basis, growth picked up to 1.7 percent from 1.3 percent in the first quarter, in line with expectations.
The main Asian stock indexes fell on the data, before recovering to close the day at new highs.
Investment grew 8.6 percent year-on-year in the first six months, down 0.6 percentage point from the first quarter.
The government is aiming for growth of around 6.5 percent in 2017, slightly lower than last year’s actual 6.7 percent, which was the weakest pace in 26 years.
Economic growth has remained at between 6.7 and 6.9 percent for eight successive quarters, meaning China’s economy is developing at a more stable and sound pace, Xing noted. Its solid growth reinforces recoveries for commodity exporters and keeps 2017’s pickup in global growth on track.
While the economy steams along, the government is setting a wary tone: The front page commentary in the People’s Daily, said China should not only be alert to “black swan” risks that catch people off guard but also more obvious threats.
The boost to growth was in part driven by firmer exports and production, in particular steel, which could heighten trade tensions as the United States and China begin economic talks this week.
“Both the economy and the currency should help to ease investors’ fears that China is going to the source of a further growth and financial market fright, after the volatility such worries caused in August 2015 and early 2016”.
President Xi Jinping called for tougher regulations to contain financial risks during a weekend National Financial Work Conference, which sets the tone for reforms.
Debt-fuelled investment in infrastructure and real estate has underpinned China’s growth for years but warnings of a potential financial crisis have spurred Beijing to clamp down.
The factory output rose 7.6% in the month of June compared to a year earlier, recording the fastest growth in the past three months, whereas fixed-asset investment increased 8.6% in the first half of this year.