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CNA: China’s Foreign Investment Fell to A Five-year Low Last Year

Primary Taiwanese news agency Central News Agency (CNA) recently reported that, as China strengthens its pressure on foreign capital, foreign direct investment in China only reached US$180 billion in 2022, an annual decrease of 48 percent, a new low since 2017. Economists say new investment into China has slowed and will be hard to recover. The outlook for foreign investment in China has become murkier as China revises its anti-espionage law, broadening its scope to potentially cover day-to-day business activities of foreign investors, as well as targeting foreign consulting firms that provide services to multinational corporations. At the same time, growing tensions between China and the United States may also limit investment, and the U.S. government is also preparing to impose new restrictions on U.S. companies investing in China. This may put foreign capital, which can bring innovative ideas and cutting-edge technology to China, at particular risk. The entry of these companies into China is an important channel for China to learn to improve production efficiency and people’s living standards. China’s appeal as a destination for foreign direct investment had waned ahead of recent Chinese pressure on foreign capital, due to China’s clashes with the West over trade, technology, and national security. In the meantime, low-cost manufacturing destinations such as India and Vietnam are growing. Economists say the fragile political environment means foreign capital in China is likely to remain concentrated in only a few big companies willing to maintain or expand existing businesses, especially those eager to tap China’s consumer market, such as McDonald’s and Starbucks.

Source: CNA, May 5, 2023