China attracted US$91.7 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first 11 months of this year, nearly 18 percent more than in the same period last year, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday.
China is on course to attract US$100 billion in FDI this year, commerce ministry spokesman Yao Jian (姚堅) said.
That would be the first time that China’s intake crossed the US$100 billion mark, clear evidence that investment flows into the world’s second-largest economy remain strong despite worries about rising labor costs. Along with the general attraction of investing in the fast-growing Chinese economy, Yao said the service industry had emerged as one focal point for foreign investors.
“The service industry has become the major driving force of the growth in foreign direct investment, which also chimes with the government’s goal of adjusting the economic structure,” Yao told a regular monthly briefing, referring to Beijing’s goal of boosting domestic consumption and relying less heavily on exports.
The investment attracted by the service industry accounted for 44.9 percent of total FDI in the first 11 months, compared with 40.9 percent in the same period a year earlier.
“With China’s economy rising further in the future, investment in the manufacturing sector will maintain a stable growth pace and service industry investment will continue to speed up,” he said.
Last month alone, China attracted US$9.7 billion in FDI, up 38 percent from the same month of last year, the ministry said.
Inflows, which surged in the years after the country joined the WTO in 2001, were hit hard by the global economic slowdown, but have staged a recovery this year.
Although China has a tight regime of capital controls, there is concern that some hot money has been entering the country in the guise of legitimate trade and investment flows. Yao said the commerce ministry would work to ensure that no FDI cash was being illegally redirected into asset markets.
“Our ministry will take further efforts to check the authenticity of foreign capital invested in property,” he said.