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Chinese firms need "smart strategy" in overseas investment


08:26, August 23, 2012

HONG KONG, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- To sustain growth and move up the value chain amid global economic uncertainty, Chinese multinationals need to have a smart strategy in promoting overseas investment, Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said here on Wednesday.

As an already favorite destination for foreign direct investment (FDI), China is "a key source of overseas investment as well," Panitchpakdi made the remarks in a keynote speech at the 2nd China Overseas Investment Summit (COIS) at the Hong Kong Conference and Exhibition Center, while indicating over the past decade, China's outward investment has grown by 25 percent, outpacing the increase of 6 percent for traditional investors from developed countries.

"As a result of this rapid expansion, China now ranks 9th among the top 10 investing countries globally with FDI outflows in 2011 outstanding at 65 billion U.S. dollars," he said, noting that the majority of them went to developing economies, especially those in Africa and Asia.

However, despite Chinese firms coming a long way in improving their competence in expanding global presence, more needs to be done.

"Chinese transnational businesses should move up the value chain... As Chinese economy becomes more knowledge and capital- extensive, there may be advantages for Chinese firms to relocate labor-extensive activities to other developing countries, particularly African nations, which, with an emerging population and a large market, could prove a real opportunity for Chinese manufacturing and services firms," he told a packed hall.

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