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China Invests US$2b Overseas in 2003: Official

China invested US$2.087 billion overseas in 2003, up 112 percent over the previous year, while its number of overseas enterprises grew by 510 last year, a senior foreign exchange administrator said.

Wei Benhua, vice-director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, told a meeting earlier this week that the figures show China's overseas development grew by "leaps and bounds" in the past few years.

Zhang Zhigang, vice-minister of Commerce, said China's total overseas investment has so far exceeded US$30 billion, covering over 160 countries and regions around the globe.

Chinese firms set up 312 enterprises overseas in 2001, with a combined Chinese investment of US$785 million  shortly after the introduction of the country's go-global strategy in the late 1990s, which encourages Chinese firms to invest abroad.

The number of Chinese enterprises set up overseas in 2002 stood at 350 with a combined investment of US$983 million, according to Wei.

Wei said the investment involves manufacturing, processing, engineering contracts and labor services.

China's continuous surplus in international payment, stable exchange rate of the Chinese currency and sufficient foreign exchange reserves created a sound environment for Chinese enterprises to invest abroad, said Wei.

China's foreign exchange reserve reached US$403.3 billion by the end of 2003.

The vice-minister of Commerce said as China is still a developing country, the "going global" enterprises with comparatively small scale still lack experience of participating in international economic cooperation and relevant service systems for further management need improvement.

Zhang said China will increase overseas investment on a larger scale, add contracted overseas projects and strengthen cooperation with overseas enterprises in resources, agriculture, science and technology, labor and service.
(Xinhua News Agency June 10, 2004)

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