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China FDI rose to record level in 2020 despite coronavirus, fastest growth rate in five years

  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China rose 4.5 per cent from 2019 to US$144.37 billion last year

  • Investment from the Netherlands and Britain increased by 47.6 per cent and 30.7 per cent, respectively, from a year earlier


Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China rose to a record high in 2020 by posing the fastest growth rate in five years despite the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. FDI in US dollar terms – excluding financial sectors such as banking, securities and insurance sectors – grew to US$144.37 billion last year, the highest level since records began in 1983, the Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday.

This represented an increase of 4.5 per cent from 2019 – the fourth consecutive year of growth.

FDI refers to investment in an ownership stake in a fixed-asset project, such as a business or factory, while portfolio investments are capital inflows into domestic securities, such as stocks and bonds.


In December, FDI into China rose to US$14.90 billion, 8.4 per cent higher than a year earlier and the highest growth rate since June, according to calculations by the South China Morning Post.

China in 2020 successfully responded to the severe impact of the coronavirus pandemic, completing the goal of stabilising foreign investment
Ministry of Commerce

The Ministry of Commerce did not disclose a full breakdown of FDI for last year, only that investment from the Netherlands and Britain increased by 47.6 per cent and 30.7 per cent, respectively, from a year earlier.


It also confirmed investment from the top 15 nations, which includes the Netherlands and Britain, increased by 6.4 per cent in 2020. The top 15 also accounted for 98 per cent of the total investment.


FDI from the 10 member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) grew by 0.7 per cent. The Asean region was China’s largest trading partner last year, ahead of both the European Union and the US, although it is unclear from the statement if the region is included in the top 15 sources of investment.


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