China’s Outbound Foreign Direct Investment Rises over 5% in 2022

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China saw a sizeable rise in outbound foreign direct investment in 2022, despite the adverse impact of a renewed round of Covid-related lockdowns and worsening geopolitical tensions across multiple quarters.

Data from the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) indicates that China’s outbound foreign direct investment totalled 985.37 billion yuan in 2022, for a year-on-year (YoY) increase of 5.2% (equivalent to US$146.5 billion, for an increase of 0.9%).

This included foreign non-financial direct investment of 785.94 billion yuan, for an increase of 7.2% (equivalent to US$116.85 billion, for an increase of 2.8%).

In 2022, the operating revenue of China’s foreign contracting projects was 1.04249 trillion yuan, for an increase of 4.3% (equivalent to US$154.99 billion, basically the same as that of the previous year). The value of newly signed contracts was 1.70217 trillion yuan, for an increase of 2.1% (equivalent to US$253.07 billion, for a decrease of 2.1%).

“In 2022, China’s outbound foreign investment saw steady development and made progress amidst stability, overcoming adverse impacts in the external environment,” a MOFCOM official said.

Officials from the Cooperation Department of MOFOM said that the chief characteristics of Chinese foreign investment and cooperation in 2022 were:

  • Investment and cooperation with “Belt and Road” nations advanced steadily. The non-financial direct investment of Chinese enterprises in “Belt and Road” nations was US$20.97 billion, for an increase of 3.3%, accounting for 17.9% of the total for the period.
  • Outward investment in certain sectors saw rapid growth. Chinese enterprises invested US$21.1 billion in the wholesale and retail industry, for a YoY increase of 19.5%. They invested US$ 21.6 billion in manufacturing, for a YoY increase of 17.4%, and invested US$38.76 billion in leasing and business services, for an increase of 5.8%.
  • Foreign investment by regional Chinese enterprises is highly active. The foreign investment of regional Chinese enterprises was US$93.92 billion, an increase of 13.1% over the previous year, to account for 80.4% of the total. Outbound foreign investment from enterprises in eastern China increased 10.3%, accounting for 81.6% of regional investment, with Guangdong, Zhejiang and Shanghai comprising the top three for regional outbound foreign investment.