BEIJING: Foreign firms invested a record US$52.7bil in China in 2002 and may pour in even more this year, lured by cheap labour and an economy that has defied a global slowdown, economists said yesterday.
Actual foreign direct investment (FDI) in China rose an annual 12.5% in 2002 as foreign companies flocked to Asia’s second largest economy, drawn by lower costs for making goods for export and hopes that the nation would open its potentially vast market wider.
The growth was slightly slower than the 14.9% annual rise in 2001 to US$46.8bil. The slowing trend may continue this year, economists say, but not enough to ease concerns among Asian neighbours that China is the magnet for FDI in the region.
“The momentum of growing FDI will definitely continue this year, though the pace may not be as strong as last year,” said Min Tang, chief Asian Development Bank economist in China.
“China’s rapid economic growth and its stable politics are attractive to foreign investors,” Tang said.
Contracted foreign investment, an indicator of future trends, surged 19.6% last year to US$82.8bil, a hefty rise from the 10.4% growth in 2001, the foreign trade ministry said. – Reuters