First-quarter fixed asset investment surged 24.6 percent year-on-year to 2.18 trillion yuan (311 billion U.S. dollars) in China, Li Xiaochao, spokesman of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said on Wednesday.
The growth rate was 0.9 percentage points higher than a year earlier, Li told a press conference here.
Investment in China's urban areas rose 25.9 percent to 1.83 trillion yuan, while investment in rural areas rose 18.3 percent to 352.9 billion yuan.
The growth rates were 0.6 percentage points and 1.6 percentage points, respectively, higher than a year ago, according to Li.
Investment started to pick up as the impact of the winter weather wore off and the Lunar New Year holiday in early February passed, said Song Guoqing, a professor at the China Economic Research Center at Peking University.
Real estate investment rose 32.3 percent to 468.8 billion yuan during the first quarter, or 5.4 percentage points more than a year earlier.
Investment might grow faster this year as government officials at all levels took up their new posts, said Zhang Yansheng, the head of the International Economic Research Institute. The institute is part of the National Development and Reform Commission, the top economic planning agency.
Chinese officials at all levels serve five-year terms and many start a series of new spending projects when they begin their terms.
Such a rebound, together with higher tourism revenues from the Beijing Olympics, could help to offset the impact of slower export growth, Zhang added.
Some experts, however, warned that the government should be wary of an investment surge that might cause overheating.
Economic growth slowed to 10.6 percent in the first quarter, compared with 11.7 percent in the same period of last year, Li said.
The world's fourth-largest economy expanded at a rapid 11.9-percent pace for all of 2007, the fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth.