Chinese companies more than doubled their foreign direct investments (FDI) last year with the outbound figure reaching US$12.3 billion which is a rise of 123 percent year-on-year. The figure brought the mainland's accumulated overseas investment to US$57.2 billion at the close of 2005.
The latest figures were released in the China Outbound Investment Statistics Report issued jointly by the Ministry of Commerce and the National Bureau of Statistics. The report doesn't include financial sector investment. It identifies half of the investment as being related to mergers and acquisitions.
The 2005 World Investment Report issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development identifies China's overseas FDI as accounting for 1.68 percent of all international foreign investment flow last year. Its accumulated FDI made up 0.59 percent of the global total.
Chinese limited liability companies, representing 32 percent of registered investors, surpassed State-owned enterprises with their share of outbound FDI last year. The slice taken by State-owned enterprises dropped to 29 from 35 percent in 2004.
More than half of the registered investors put their money into manufacturing industries abroad ranging from textiles, shoes, computers, machinery and pharmaceuticals.
Over 60 percent of overseas investors come from coastal regions such as Zhejiang, Guangdong and Shandong provinces. Of the total number of registered investors 949 come from East China's Zhejiang Province which is 23.6 percent of the total.
China's FDI went into 163 countries and regions across the world covering 93 percent of Asia and 85 percent of Europe. Some 46 percent of the investors chose Hong Kong, the United States, Japan and Russia. Hong Kong boasts the highest rate of 16.5 percent.
The government has been calling on domestic companies to accelerate their foreign interests for years. It remains a major task for the commerce ministry during the country's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) but outbound investment has seen big rises over the past two years.
The Ministry of Commerce has adopted various measures to help enterprises travel overseas. The trade watchdog set up a reporting mechanism last year requiring companies to report their overseas merger and acquisition plans.
It proposes to use the data to provide companies with information about potential investment destinations including the policies, regulations and general investment environment of other countries. It'll also assist by analyzing any possible risks in new locations.
The government also simplified application procedures and improved its services for outward investment information. A service centre has also been established in Beijing to accept complaints concerning barriers to investment from outbound investors.
However, despite the moves the country's outward investment is still small compared to the US$60.3 billion of foreign investment to China in 2005.
(China Daily September 5, 2006)