China's diversified outbound direct investment portfolio, especially in sectors like healthcare, scientific research and technical services, will help ease COVID-19 pressures for more countries and regions and revitalize the global economy, experts said on Thursday.
The comments came after the Ministry of Commerce said that China's ODI grew by 11.4 percent on a yearly basis to $43.9 billion during the first four months of the year, while the total contract value of Chinese companies' newly-signed overseas projects reached 463.93 billion yuan ($72.74 billion), up 1.2 percent on a yearly basis, during the same period.
In addition to investing in traditional sectors, such as manufacturing, agriculture and infrastructure projects, in overseas markets, China's ODI in scientific research and technical services, transportation, residential services, healthcare and other areas increased during the four-month period, said Gao Feng, a spokesman for the ministry.
Chinese companies' investment in manufacturing and information transmission industries rose 23.5 percent and 23.2 percent on a yearly basis to $5.72 billion and $2.44 billion, respectively, data from the ministry showed.
China has successfully handled the pandemic situation and supplied more products to other parts of the world since the second half of last year. Consequently, many companies were able to resume daily operations quickly. Since then, they have become more competitive and keen to participate in ODI-related activities, said Ren Xingzhou, a research fellow of the Institute for Market Economy at the Development Research Center of the State Council.
"China's growing ODI in high-end manufacturing, healthcare and innovation businesses in overseas markets is likely to lead a new round of 'going global' for domestic companies," she said, adding this will provide opportunities for other countries to enhance ties with China and increase their ability to resist risks as China was the only major economy to witness positive economic growth last year.
Moreover, with China's favorable policies to further open up, it is a good opportunity for other countries, especially those participating in the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, to work together in a number of fields such as healthcare and infrastructure to seek new growth points, said Wang Tiedong, a professor who specializes in regional economic development at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.
China's ODI in economies participating in the BRI rose 14 percent on a yearly basis to $5.96 billion, accounting for 17.4 percent of the total capital invested in global markets between January and April, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Power Construction Corp of China, or PowerChina, a Beijing-headquartered State-owned enterprise, signed a contract with Argentina's Jujuy Provincial Energy and Mineral Co for the construction of a 200-megawatt photovoltaic power project earlier this month.
In addition to the new 200-megawatt power plant, the project also includes the expansion of the Cauchari PV plant, the largest and highest of its kind in South America, which was contracted by Shanghai Electric Power Construction Co Ltd and began construction on May 17, 2017.
Yao Qiang, PowerChina's vice-president, said that upon completion, the plant is expected to contribute to the country's energy transformation and sustainable development, with an annual power output of 480,300 megawatt-hours. The power will provide clean energy for about 170,000 households.
Apart from SOEs, Chinese companies from the private sector have also been making notable progress in overseas markets this year. Hisense Home Appliances Group Co, a Shandong province-based company, spent 1.3 billion yuan in March this year to buy a 75 percent stake in Saden Holdings Co, a Japanese company that makes compressors for air conditioners.
This is a further step for the company's going global strategy, as well as gaining more high-end technologies to reinforce its innovation and earnings strengths, Hisense said in a statement.