China is becoming more important for world economic growth and its Asian neighbours will benefit from its development, according to a World Economic Forum official.
"China will be the main pillar in Asia's industries," said Frank Richter, the forum's Asia director, during an exclusive interview with China Daily while visiting the country earlier this week.
With four years of experience in China behind him, Richter said he had great confidence in the nation's growth.
"The world foreign direct investment (FDI) level dropped by 50 per cent last year, which means the whole process of globalization has come to a halt. The only country that saw FDI growth was China," Richter said, quoting statistics released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
He said: "They (foreign investors) are not only lured to China by the populous market but are turning China into a manufacturing base for exports to countries other than China."
According to the UN's World Investment Report 2002, China regained its position as the largest FDI recipient in 2001 with an inflow of US$47 billion, ousting the United States from first to second place. Besides being a recipient of foreign investment, China is now also gearing towards overseas markets.
Last year, 12 State-owned enterprises invested US$30 billion overseas.
Richter said he was glad to see Chinese companies turning to other countries.
However, the fact that China is soaking up to 70 per cent of all foreign investment in Asia has caused concern in other Southeast Asian countries.
"China is receiving a greater part of foreign investment compared with its Asian neighbours," he said. "At the same time, growing Chinese companies expand and start investing in Asian countries like Indonesia and South Korea.
"That's what we call investment recycling. So they have no need to see China as a 'threat,' but rather they should learn to piggyback on China."
(China Daily October 24, 2002)