BEIJING, Jan. 16 -- The year-on-year growth of foreign direct investment (FDI), one of the driving forces of the economy, fell for the third straight month in December, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said Thursday.
FDI for the whole of last year, however, grew 23.58 percent to $92.4 billion, thanks to the robust growth in the first three quarters. In comparison, actually used FDI in 2007 grew 13.59 percent to $74.8 billion.
The MOFCOM, which held a press conference Thursday, did not release the contractual FDI figures for last year.
China has been one of the biggest FDI recipients in the past decade, but the global financial crisis could change the trend, even if slightly, this year, experts said.
Mei Xinyu, a senior researcher with the MOFCOM, said he was "not optimistic" about this year, and feared that FDI could even "see a small drop".
Su Chang, senior analyst with China Economic Business Monitor, was more specific, saying FDI could fall by 5 to 10 percent in the first half of this year. But, he said, it would see a positive turn in the second half.
As MOFCOM data show, the top source of FDI last year was Hong Kong, which pumped in $41 billion for a 48 percent annual increase.
British Virgin Islands was the second biggest source of FDI, providing $15.95 billion. But the figure is 3.62 percent less than that in 2007.
FDI from Japan rose 1.76 percent to $3.65 billion. It was followed by South Korea with $3.14 billion (14.76 percent or the largest drop) and the US with $2.94 billion (up 12.54 percent).
The service industries (excluding banking, insurance and securities) were the major FDI recipients, drawing $38.1 billion, or 24.23 percent more than in 2007.
Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said recently that FDI helped generate about 55 percent of the country's exports.
The MOFCOM will continue to encourage FDI, especially in new technologies, environmental protection projects and the service sector, he said. The government will expedite the drafting of favorable policies for FDI in the relatively under-developed central and western regions, too.
The government has been announcing new plans and policies, including the massive $586-billion stimulus package, almost every week since early November to boost economic growth.
(Source: China Daily)