BEIJING, April 17 (Xinhua) -- China's non-financial overseas direct investment (ODI) surged 94.5 percent year on year to 16.55 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter of this year, the Ministry of Commerce announced (MOC) Tuesday.
Of the total, 6.2 billion U.S. dollars of investment took the form of mergers and acquisitions, said MOC spokesman Shen Danyang.
The ODI marked a substantial increase in March, as investment in the first two months of this year stood at just 7.435 billion U.S. dollars.
First quarter investments were made in 1,096 overseas companies in 109 countries and regions around the world, according to Shen.
As of the end of March, China's non-financial ODI expanded to 338.5 billion U.S. dollars, Shen said.
Active Chinese investment abroad came amid falling foreign investment to China. MOC data showed that the country received 29.48 billion U.S. dollars of foreign direct investment in the first three months, down 2.8 percent from a year earlier.
In the first quarter, business volume in overseas-contracted projects rose 23 percent year on year to 20.88 billion U.S. dollars, according to Shen.
The value of new contracts signed over the January-March period fell 3.8 percent to 29.76 billion U.S. dollars. However, new contracts signed in March rose 6.7 percent to reach 14.43 billion U.S. dollars, Shen said.
During the first quarter, 91,000 more Chinese were sent to work abroad under labor cooperation contracts, Shen said.
As of the end of March, 809,000 Chinese were working overseas under such contracts, up by 40,000 from the corresponding period last year.