China's non-financial outbound direct investment plummeted 36 percent to 53.27 billion yuan ($7.73 billion) in January, compared with the same period last year, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.
The ODI last month also fell a slight 4.6 percent from the previous month, said the ministry in a statement published on its web site.
China's ODI in January mainly went to the manufacture sector, which saw a 79 percent surge on year, as well as communication, software and information technology service sector, which saw a 33 percent jump on year, said the ministry. Meanwhile, the country's investment in the foreign real estate sector saw a sharp fall of 84 percent on year in January, while the investment in the overseas cultural, entertainment and sports industries fell 93 percent on year, according to the statement.
China's outbound direct investment scaled a new high in 2016, giving rise to government concerns on capital outflow and quality and security of Chinese investment overseas. In December, the Chinese authorities warned that Chinese investment in the overseas industries of property, hotel, cinema, entertainment and football club sectors had turned out to be "irrational", with some enterprises even seeking investment abroad despite the lack of qualification.
As a result, the government issued a series of policies to tighten scrutiny on the authenticity of Chinese companies' overseas investment activities.
China's ODI last month was also characterized by active investment in the One Belt One Road countries, said the ministry. Such investment accounted for 10.6 percent of the country's total ODI in value in January, representing an increase of 2.1 percentage points from the full year 2016, according to the statement.
The ministry also said that the foreign direct investment in China in January dropped 9.2 percent on year to 80.1 billion yuan ($12 billion), attributing the fall to a high investment base in the same period last year and the effect of the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday in January.
"Despite the fluctuation of FDI data in January, it does not represent the overall trend of the whole year," said Sun Jiwen, the spokesperson of the ministry.
Sun said in the mid-to-long term, China has obvious advantages and qualifications in attracting foreign investment. These include the estimated above 6.5 percent growth rate in the economy during the 13th five-year plan period, which would make China a country with the fastest GDP growth rate in the world. Meanwhile, in areas such as the deepening of reforms, opening up of more sectors and improving business environment, China will maintain its competitiveness in attracting foreign investment, Sun said.