ODI falls but rational sentiment wins

China's non-financial outbound direct investment dropped nearly 30 percent in 2017 from a year ago but the decline signaled a more rational investment sentiment.

China’s non-financial outbound direct investment dropped nearly 30 percent in 2017 from a year ago but the decline signaled a more rational investment sentiment, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday, adding that economic cooperation with Belt and Road countries deepened.

Chinese mainland investors injected US$120 billion in 6,236 non-financial enterprises in 174 countries and regions last year, the ministry said. That compared with a record US$170 billion investment in 2016, when the authorities warned of “irrational tendency” and started to impose stricter rules on overseas investment.

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, in August clarified that overseas investment in real estate, hotels, cinemas and entertainment would be limited, while that in sectors such as gambling would be banned.

Investment in countries involved in the Belt and Road initiative totaled US$14.4 billion in 2017, the ministry said.

Belt and Road deals accounted for 12 percent of total investments in 2017, up 3.5 percentage points from a year earlier.

The ministry said investment mainly flowed to leasing, commercial services, retail, manufacturing and information technology sectors. The ministry did not report new investment in property, sports or entertainment.

Chinese companies sealed 341 merger and acquisition deals valued at US$96.2 billion across 49 countries and regions last year.

The commerce ministry also said foreign direct investment in China totaled 877.56 billion yuan (US$136.3 billion) last year, up 7.9 percent year on year.

The business environment for foreign companies has improved last year after measures, including wider access, financial support, greater protection of foreign companies’ rights, and better government services, were implemented, the ministry said.  

FDI in the high-tech and service sectors grew strongly and the increase was rapid in China’s western regions, the ministry added.

It said FDI in China is expected to be stable this year.


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