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September 23, 2016

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China’s overseas investment soars

CHINA invested more money abroad last year than foreign firms piled into the country, a first for the world’s second-largest economy as it looks abroad to transform its economic growth model.

Overseas direct investment soared more than 18 percent to an all-time high above US$145 billion last year, exceeding the US$135.6 billion of foreign direct investment.

This “historic breakthrough” was a result of the “enhancement of China’s comprehensive national power,” deepening cooperation, and Beijing’s strategy of encouraging Chinese firms to “go abroad” in search of growth, the government said.

Chinese firms “have to make use of international resources and markets to transform and upgrade,” the commerce ministry’s representative Zhang Xiangchen said yesterday.

“We feel companies currently are keen to go abroad and actively integrate into global innovation, manufacturing and market networks,” Zhang said.

The data was revealed in the 2015 Statistical Bulletin of China’s Outward Foreign Direct Investment.

China’s economy grew at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century last year. The country faces multiple development bottlenecks. Among these are manufacturing overcapacity, insufficient domestic demand and increasing energy and resources consumption.

To enhance their competitiveness, cash-flush Chinese firms have sought to acquire foreign brands, technologies and resources. Last year, Chinese firms conducted US$54.4 billion of mergers and acquisitions, including the takeover of Italian tiremaker Pirelli by state-owned ChemChina.

In the first eight months of this year, M&A surged to US$61.7 billion, the ministry said, as Chinese companies scored massive investments, from Hollywood studio Legendary to leading German robotics firm Kuka and Swiss seed giant Syngenta.

“We think Chinese companies’ overseas takeovers can help them acquire high-end production elements such as design, research and development, marketing and service to upgrade their positions in the global value, industrial, logistics chains,” said Zhang.

In an appearance in New York this week China’s Premier Li Keqiang said: “China’s door, once open, is unlikely to be closed.” He added that there are “tremendous investment opportunities” between the US and China and assuring business leaders.


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