A great number of overseas businessmen are confident that China will remain one of the biggest investment markets in the world in the new century.
Herb Heryyuana Lin, manager of Intel Capital, who is attending the fourth China Fair for International Investment and Trade in the port city Xiamen, said that the decrease of overseas investment in China is a temporary phenomenon.
"China is absolutely going to be the most competitive investment market in developing countries in the next 10 years," Lin said.
Hong Jun Park, a representative from Hyundai of the Republic of Korea, who also visited the fair, held that "China will be an infinitely big market in the coming 10 to 20 years."
Nearly 10,000 overseas businessmen attended the fair, so far the only national event which aims to lure foreign funds into China. Contracts involving over US$10 billion have been signed -- a much higher figure than for any previous event.
Since it adopted the opening-up policy in 1978, China, with a population of over one billion, has been regarded as "a name which is most attractive to foreign investors."
China has been the biggest recipient of foreign direct investment in developing countries for seven straight years since 1993. Over 400 of the world's top 500 multinational corporations have invested in China.
Foreign investment in China has shown a declining trend since the mid-1990s for various reasons. However, the situation took a turn for the better since the beginning of the year.
The recovery of the economies in Asian countries which were affected by the Asian financial crisis, and the rise of the world economy as a whole are cited as the factors that are playing positive roles in stimulating the inflow of foreign investment into China.
Authoritative sources said that the Chinese market is still as attractive as it was more than two decades ago, despite competition brought about by the opening up of the Latin American market.
As for the domestic factors, Ma Yu, a research fellow with the research institute under the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC), predicted that as a result of over 20 years of reform and opening up, the Chinese economy has the potential to absorb US$70 billion of foreign funds annually in the coming 10 years.
Professor Cheng Hsiao from the US said that over the long term, the Chinese economy will maintain an annual growth rate of 8 percent in the coming 10 years, which is more attractive to international investors.
Chinese leaders said recently that in the coming 10 years, China will continue its efforts in large-scale modernization. It is predicted that the investment in fixed assets will grow by an average rate of 10 percent annually, and the total import volume will surpass US$2 trillion in the period.
By readjusting its economic structure, analysts pointed out, China is creating more business opportunities such as the stimulation of domestic demand, the development of its western region, the reform of state enterprises, the development of high-tech industries and the expansion of the service sector.
China's accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO), which has entered its final stage, will further help open wider the Chinese market, they said.
China has put forward more bold policies for luring foreign funds into its high-tech industries, and it has gradually opened the market for commerce, foreign trade, finance, insurance, securities, telecommunications and tourism in accordance with the basic rules of the WTO.
Lawrence Klein, a winner of Nobel Prize for Economics, said that "China will, as an economic giant, participate in the world economic development, and it will enter a new period of development following its accession into the WTO."
"Multinational corporations will bring to China much more and stable funds," added Klein.
Juergen D. Lagleder, senior vice president of the Siemens Ltd., China, is confident that his company will enjoy more just treatment and a wider space for development following China's upcoming entry into the WTO.
"We'll make extra investment in all sectors in China," Lagleder stressed.