In 2020, China made major achievements in responding to the severe impact of COVID-19 and accomplished the tasks in stabilizing foreign trade. As global cross-border direct investment plummeted, China’s paid-in foreign direct investment (FDI) bucked the trend and registered increase in size, growth margin, and global share. Four characteristics can be summarized:
First, the size of FDI hit a record high. In 2020, paid-in FDI reached a record 999.98 billion yuan, up 6.2% year-on-year (US$144.37 billion, up 4.5% year-on-year in US dollar terms; excluding the banking, securities, and insurance sectors, unless otherwise indicated).
Second, the investment mix further improved. Paid-in investment in the services sector was 776.77 billion yuan, up 13.9% and accounting for 77.7% of the total amount. Paid-in investment in high-tech industries grew by 11.4%, where high-tech services saw a surge of 28.5%; specifically, paid-in investment in research and development services, science and technology application services, e-commerce services, and information services increased by 78.8%, 52.7%, 15.1%, and 11.6% respectively.
Third, main investment sources remained stable. The 15 largest sources of investment, accounting for 98% of China’s total FDI, expanded their investment in China by 6.4%. Investment from the Netherlands and the UK rose by 47.6% and 30.7%. ASEAN’s investment in China grew by a margin of 0.7%.
Fourth, regional champions played a significant role. FDI attracted by eastern China grew by 8.9%, coming to 88.4% of the national total. Specifically, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Shanghai, Shandong, and Zhejiang, which were major investment attractors, saw an increase of 5.1%, 6.5%, 6.6%, 20.3%, and 18.3% respectively. Northeast, central, and western China also made a huge leap, with investment in Liaoning, Hunan and Hebei jumping by 13.7%, 28.2%, and 35.5% respectively.