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China’s foreign investments have hit a new record.

Last year the country jumped into the top three of the world’s investors for the first time. It was third behind Japan in the second spot and the number one – the US.

Leading the charge are private companies, with the sovereign wealth fund the China Investment Corporation not far behind, using part of the government’s huge foreign exchange reserves. It recently acquired a 10 percent stake in London’s Heathrow Airport for 450 million pounds (534 million euros)

Beijing has encouraged Chinese companies to “go international” with the result that foreign investment have risen from the equivalent of 52 billion euros in 2010 to 66.5 billion last year.

Speaking at the China International Fair for Investment and Trade, Wang Yanguo, the deputy head of the country’s International Chamber of Commerce for the Private Sector said: “Chinese investors’ outbound investment used to focus on traditional industries, but now they’ve shifted their focus to both traditional and newly emerged industries. Such development momentum is very strong especially in the advanced manufacturing sector and high-tech industries.”

The Ministry of Commerce said overseas investment is set to grow 15 percent this year through deals like the $4.7 billion (3.5 billion euro) takeover of America’s Smithfield Foods – the world’s biggest pork producer. That will be the largest ever Chinese acquisition of a US company. It was just approval by the US Committee on Foreign Investment.

The Ministry’s Department of Outward Investment and Economic Cooperation said just over 79 percent of Chinese investors have made profits or not lost money on their foreign purchases.

A report compiled jointly by the Ministry of Commerce, the National Bureau of Statistics and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange revealed the top destination for overseas Chinese investment last year was Hong Kong.

The US rose to second place with $4.05 billion (3.05 billion euros)invested, surging 123.5 percent from 2011.

At end of of 2012, Chinese companies employed 1.49 million staff overseas, about half foreign citizens, the report added.

With AFP

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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