US investments in China show decline (2)

10:46, July 19, 2011      

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Chinese investments in Hong Kong, the European Union and Australia increased substantially in the first half of the year.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce, China signed more than 48,100 service outsourcing contracts in the first six months of 2011. The total contract value reached nearly 17.7 billion U.S. dollars, up nearly 84 percent from a year earlier. Meanwhile, the value of completed service outsourcing contracts reached 13.3 billion U.S. dollars, up nearly 97 percent from last year.

China's overseas investments in non-financial sectors reached 23.9 billion U.S. dollars in the first six months, up 34 percent from a year earlier. These investments went to nearly 2,200 foreign enterprises in 117 countries and regions. China's cumulative overseas investments totaled 282.7 billion U.S. dollars as of June 2011. Chinese investments in Hong Kong, the European Union and Australia increased in the first six months, while direct investments by China in the United States, ASEAN, Russia and Japan fell.

The value of completed overseas engineering contracts reached more than 42.5 billion U.S. dollars in the first six months, up nearly 14 percent from a year earlier. Meanwhile, China sent some 211,000 contract workers abroad, an increase of 21,000 workers compared to the same period of last year.

Sales of gold, silver, jewelry up nearly 43 percent

According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce, the total sales volume of 3,000 major retailers in China grew nearly 18 percent in the first half of 2011 from a year earlier, which was the same growth rate recorded in the same period of last year. Overall, China's consumption structure witnessed noticeable changes in the first six months, and the process of consumption upgrading was accelerated.

The sales value of food, clothes and daily necessities were up by 20 percent, 22 percent and 18 percent respectively in the first half, all representing an increase of 4 percentage points from that of the same period of last year. The gold, silver and jewelry sales value was up 43 percent during the same period, an increase of 15 percentage points from the same period of last year.

Lowering import goods prices, boosting domestic consumption

Yao said that the importation of branded goods has partly helped boost China's overall imports. China has continuously enjoyed a trade surplus over recent years and needs to consider how to change the situation so as to enable the masses to share the benefits of the reform and opening-up. For instance, China's deficit in the tourist service trade means that China's outbound tourists have considerably outnumbered international tourists to China.

"What do Chinese tourists do abroad? Shopping is a major component to which China must pay close attention," Yao said.

Yao said that further improving China's trade balance, turning invisible imports to actual imports and making artificially expensive import goods affordable to the masses are the same objective that China is seeking. Although some experts hold different views, they all agree that the key is to expand domestic consumption.

By Cui Peng from People's Daily, translated by People's Daily Online
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