China reports foreign direct investment surge in January despite weak global economy
Contracted foreign investment, an indicator of future trends, jumped 65.34 percent year-on-year in January to 9.24 billion US dollars, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC) said in a statement Monday. China drew a record of 52.7 billion US dollars in foreign direct investment last year as more foreign businesses tapped the potentially vast market. A total of 3,349 new foreign-funded enterprises were approved last month, up 33.69 percent year-on-year, the ministry said.
Sun Xiaohua, a senior expert on foreign investment with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, the ministry's think-tank, identified the development of China's western regions and multinationals' mergers and acquisitions as the new drivers in FDI flow this year. Meanwhile, Sun said, the government's decision to encourage foreign investment in the restructure of state-owned firms will also provide more opportunities for foreign direct investment. Zhang Feng, an expert from the State Information Center, forecast that the FDI growth rate would reach around 10 percent this year. And he noted that more offshore capital will flow into fields such as banking, tourism, commerce, hospitals and education as China gradually lifts its restrictions on foreign investment.