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Foreign investment in China up 5 percent in January-April

BEIJING--Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China rose 5.0 percent year-on-year to US$40.3 billion in the first four months of 2014, lifted by funds from Asian neighbors, the government said Friday.

For April alone FDI — which excludes investment in financial sectors — was up 3.4 percent at US$8.7 billion, the ministry of commerce said in a statement. However, that was down from US$12.24 billion seen in March.

“Investment from major countries and regions into China maintained a stable growth momentum,” ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said in the statement.

In the January-April period, the top five investors included Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and China's special administrative region of Hong Kong, the ministry said.

But investment from Japan plunged 46.8 percent to US$1.6 billion, it said, as a festering political row over disputed islands in the East China Sea has made Japanese companies reluctant to pour funds into its neighbor.

Investment from the United States fell 11.4 percent in the first four months to US$1.2 billion, but it was still one of the top 10 investors, according to the ministry.

Foreign investment into China rebounded in 2013 to US$117.59 billion, but the country's slowing growth could crimp inflows this year.

Separately, the ministry said China's overseas investment in non-financial sectors fell 12.9 percent year-on-year to US$25.69 billion in January-April.

Investment in the United States rose 173.3 percent year-on-year to US$1.7 billion, while that in the European Union increased 2.2 percent to US$700 million, it said, in a rare disclosure of absolute values for individual markets.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations received investment worth US$1.58 billion from China in the period, up 5.7 percent from a year ago, it added.

However, investment in Hong Kong and Australia declined 41 percent and 0.7 percent year-on-year respectively in the period, the ministry said.

Beijing has encouraged companies to “go out” to seal supplies of crucial resources as well as make overseas acquisitions to gain market access and international experience.

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