Chinese investment overseas in the first two months of the year soared 147 percent year-on-year to US$18.39 billion, official data showed yesterday.
It outpaced the inflow of foreign direct investment (excluding financial sectors), which declined 1.35 percent year-on-year to US$17.48 billion during the same period, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said.
Beijing is keen to promote overseas investment as part of its efforts to reform China’s growth model and acquire significant foreign assets in sectors such as energy, mining and high-tech industries, analysts said.
“It should be a trend in the long run — it is highly likely that overseas direct investment will exceed foreign direct investment in the next few years,” said Ren Xianfang (任現芳), a Beijing-based analyst with research firm IHS Global Insight.
“It is a national strategy to transform China into a big investor from a big exporter,” he said.
Chinese direct investment overseas surged almost 30 percent last year from 2011, as firms in the world’s second-largest economy increasingly look to expand abroad.
The biggest increase in Chinese investment in a major market over the first two months of the year was in Australia, where it surged 282 percent, the ministry said.
It was followed by Hong Kong, up 156 percent, and the US with a 146 percent increase, while in Southeast Asia, it went up 114 percent and in the EU 81.9 percent.
However, in Japan, with whom Beijing has been involved in a territorial row, investment was down 31 percent. Overseas FDI to Russia also slipped 46 percent.
At the same time China’s manufacturing competitiveness faces rising costs, while investor confidence is battered by weakness in the global economy.
Nonetheless, incoming FDI rose 6.3 percent to US$8.21 billion last month, the first year-on-year increase in nine months, the ministry said.
EU investment into China increased “quite rapidly” in the first two months of the year, the ministry said in a statement, rising 34.01 percent to US$1.214 billion.
However, FDI from the US and Asia fell, with Japanese investment down 6.7 percent over the period to US$1.269 billion.