The Chinese government will continue to open up its market to foreign capital by easing market access restrictions in services sectors in 2018, a senior trade official said Monday.
China will deepen opening-up in services industries like education, culture, healthcare and finance next year, Tang Wenhong, head of the Department of Foreign Investment Administration of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), told a briefing in Beijing.
Foreign investment made a large contribution to the growth of China's economy in 2017, Tang said, noting that foreign-invested enterprises are responsible for almost half of China's trade and 25 percent of industrial output.
Foreign direct investment in China rose 9.8 percent to 803.6 billion yuan ($123 billion) in the first 11 months, MOFCOM data showed. A total of 30,815 foreign-invested enterprises set up in China during the same period, up 26.5 percent year-on-year, according to the ministry.
The Chinese government has strengthened efforts to expand the investment scope for foreign capital in 2017, Tang said. For example, in the industrial guidance catalogue for foreign investment released in June, China cut 30 restrictions.
"The Chinese government will further reduce market access restrictions in 2018," Tang said, adding that the government will optimize regional opening-up.
"The government will support western China in hope of increasing the scale and quality of foreign investment," he said.
China has not only boosted foreign investment in the domestic market, but will also guide and support Chinese firms to go global in an orderly way.
China's outbound investment in nonfinancial sectors reached $107.6 billion in the first 11 months, said MOFCOM.
Outbound investment has become influential internationally, and the Chinese government is steadily improving the quality and efficiency of overseas investment, Zhou Liujun, head of the Department of Outward Investment and Economic Cooperation of MOFCOM, told another briefing on Monday.
Zhou said that China is likely to favor cross-border projects that have competitive competence and influence across the globe.
Chinese companies should be more cautious and avoid irrational mergers and acquisitions in the global market, Zhou said, noting that the government will guide and support firms overseas that are capable and have a good reputation.
Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said Monday that China aims to become a "strong economic and trading country" by 2050.
China saw more than 25 trillion yuan in traded goods during the first 11 months, an increase of 15.6 percent year-on-year, the largest growth for six years. Trade in services was 4 trillion yuan from January to October, up 9.9 percent on a yearly basis.