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    Foreign investment rises on services momentum

    Foreign direct investment into the Chinese mainland jumped 10.5 percent year-on-year duringthe first five months of the year to $53.83 billion, with services being the mainstay, the Ministry ofCommerce said on Thursday.
    FDI in the services sector surged by 23.5 percent to $33.94 billion from the period a year earlierand accounted for 63 percent of total FDI between January and May.
    The number of newly registered foreign-funded companies in this category jumped by 21 percentto 6,830 compared with the same period last year. Foreign investment in scientific research,financial and technical service sectors surged by 133, 476 and 35 percent, respectively, duringthe period under review.
    Wang Zhile, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and EconomicCooperation, said with China undergoing an industrial transformation and shutting heavily-polluting factories, the country is keen to seek new growth points from its rapidly growingservices sector.
    "The FDI into manufacturing has been waning, whereas it has been rising in the services sector.Most of the FDI from European and other developed nations is already flowing into the servicessector with an overwhelming focus on high-end manufacturing," Wang said.
    The FDI growth in high-end manufacturing has remained encouraging during the period withsectors like transportation equipment and telecommunications posting higher growth rates of 4.4percent and 4.8 percent, respectively.
    The top 10 contributors including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, France and theUnited Kingdom invested $50.96 billion in the Chinese mainland during the first five months,accounting for 94.7 percent of the total FDI.
    Foreign investment from the European Union surged 23.2 percent year-on-year to $3.31 billion,while capital inflows from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations reached $2.63 billion, up3.6 percent from the same period last year. Countries and regions along the Belt and RoadInitiative invested $2.92 billion in China from January to May, an 11.6 percent increase on a year-on-year basis.
    The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives were putforward by President Xi Jinping in 2013, with the purpose of rejuvenating the two ancient tradingroutes and further opening up the markets.
    Global companies, including Cargill Inc of the United States, Germany's Lufthansa Group andMercedes-Benz also increased their investment in China during the first five months.
    Though China's foreign trade slowed in the first five months, Lin Guijun, vice-president of theUniversity of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said FDI will be a crucial supportengine for the economy.
    Lin suggested that the government should encourage more foreign companies to merge withChinese enterprises under the ongoing public-private partnership reform.


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