Foreign direct investment continued to surge into China, growing 18.77% in the first eight months of 2004 and sealing China's position as the top destination for overseas cash.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, FDI hit US$43.559 billion to August, while in the same period contracted foreign investment, a measure of future business, increased 38.89% year-on-year to US$93.792 billion.
The figures underscored reports from the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development stating that in 2003 China overtook the United States as the world's number one foreign investment destination.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said China attracted FDI worth US$53.5 billion, compared with US$52.7 billion in 2002. Investment in the US meanwhile plunged by 53% in 2003 to US$30 billion, the lowest level in 12 years, although the US itself remained the largest overseas investor.
UNCTAD said China's strong manufacturing industry was the main attraction, although investment in services was also gaining ground. It forecast that FDI to China in 2004 would surpass US$60 billion.
To August the Ministry of Commerce said it had approved 28,748 new foreign-invested ventures, a growth of 11.73%. Analysts said the especially high growth was partially attributable to the low base in August 2003, when investment slumped by 28% in the wake of the SARS outbreak.