This Aug 10, 2011 photo shows containers at the harbor of Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang province. According to China's Ministry of Commerce, foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Chinese mainland in 2017 rose 7.9 percent year-on-year to reach US$136.33 billion. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
BEIJING – Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Chinese mainland posted steady growth in 2017, through further opening-up and improved structure of foreign investment.
FDI rose 7.9 percent year-on-year to reach 877.56 billion yuan (US$136.33 billion), the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said in a statement posted online Tuesday.
Total 35,652 foreign companies were newly established in 2017, up 27.8 percent from a year earlier
Ministry of Commerce, China
According to the MOC, 35,652 foreign companies were newly established in 2017, up 27.8 percent from a year earlier.
In December alone, the country's FDI stood at 73.94 billion yuan, down 9.2 percent from the same period a year ago. Newly-founded foreign companies saw a year-on-year growth of 36.5 percent to reach 4,837, data showed.
An official with the MOC attributed the steady momentum of FDI to optimized environment, structure and distribution of foreign investment.
In 2017, the government took steps to ease restrictions and simplify procedures for the entry of foreign investment, the official said.
"The structure of foreign investment continued to improve, with strong performance of FDI in the sector of high-tech services, which rose 93.2 percent year-on-year to reach 184.65 billion yuan," he said.
Non-financial outbound direct investment (ODI), meanwhile, saw a drastic decline in 2017 amid government efforts to curb irrational investment overseas.
Chinese investors spent US$120 billion on 6,236 enterprises from 174 countries and regions last year, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said in a statement.
The year-on-year decline, at 29.4 percent for the whole of last year, narrowed from the 33.5-percent drop for the first 11 months.
Han Yong, an official with the MOC, said that "irrational outbound investment has been curbed."
In December alone, China's non-financial ODI increased 49 percent, tracking a gain of 34.9-percent in November.
No new projects were reported in property, sports or entertainment in the last two months.
China's ODI has seen rapid growth in recent years. However, noting an "irrational tendency" in outbound investment, Chinese authorities have set stricter rules and advised companies to make investment decisions more carefully.
In a document released in August, the State Council said overseas investment in areas including real estate, hotels, cinemas, and entertainment would be limited, while investment in sectors such as gambling would be banned.
In November, the National Development and Reform Commission, China's economic planning body, released a new draft rule on outbound investment, including stipulations on the investment activities of firms established overseas by domestic companies.
Investment in 2017 mainly went to leasing and commercial services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and information technology sectors.
Meanwhile, ODI to countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative has been encouraged.
In 2017, China's non-financial ODI in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative totaled US$14.36 billion, accounting for 12 percent of the total, up from 8.5 percent in 2016.