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Outward FDI Hits $21.16b for 2006
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Outbound foreign direct investment reached $21.16 billion in 2006, according to statistics released on Friday.


And China's overseas foreign direct investment to financial sectors reached $3.53 billion last year.


The information came via a bulletin compiled by the Ministry of Commerce, the National Bureau of Statistics, and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.


Investment to the financial sector accounted for 16.7 percent of the country's total overseas investment last year, the bulletin said.


Compared with global foreign investment, China's outward investment was still low for 2006 in terms of volume and total, said Chen Lin, deputy director of the commerce ministry's foreign economic cooperation department.


But he said outward investment will speed up as the country's economic growth remains steady and foreign investment is increasing.


"We expected the country's outward investment to reach $60 billion during the 11th Five-Year Plan period(2006-10). Now we believe the actual figure will be much higher than that," he said.


Chinese companies are now encouraged to go overseas. Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the central bank, told a forum last week that financial policies are likely to be adjusted to support local firms' outward investment.


He said the central bank will further develop the foreign exchange market to help companies hedge currency risks and simplify procedures for firms investing outside China.


The country will also remove "unnecessary controls" on reviewing sources of forex funds, and on foreign currency purchase and remittance procedures, to allow companies to use their own funds or converted currencies to invest abroad. Commercial banks are being encouraged to go abroad by setting up overseas branches or acquiring stakes in foreign counterparts.


China's outward investment provided over 200,000 jobs for foreigners last year.


By the end of 2006, more than 5,000 local investment entities had established nearly 10,000 overseas firms in 172 countries and regions.


(China Daily September 15, 2007)


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