Beijing, July 22 (CGTN): China saw 23,000 foreign-funded enterprises newly established in the country during the first half of 2021, a surge of 47.9 percent year on year, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Thursday.
The increase brought the number of foreign-funded enterprises in China to 1.06 million by the end of June. In the first six months of 2021, China’s actual use of foreign capital exceeded 607 billion yuan ($93 billion), an increase of 28.7 percent year on year, the ministry said.
Overall, business operations in China have rapidly stabilized and improved in the first half of the year, and “high-quality business development achieved new results, which made new contributions to the sustainable and healthy development of the national economy,” said Guo Tingting, head of the Comprehensive Department of the MOFCOM.
While the country’s non-financial outbound direct investment (ODI) decreased 3.7 percent year-on-year – amounting to 348.8 billion yuan – in the first half of the year, ODI to the countries along the Belt and Road increased by 8.6 percent. During the period, China invested $47 billion in overseas economic and trade cooperation zones, which contributed a combined $6 billion in taxes and fees to the investment destinations and created 380,000 jobs locally, Guo said.
Foreign trade also grew rapidly in the first half of the year. China’s trade value topped 18.1 trillion yuan, in which total trade volume saw a year-on-year increase of 27.1 percent, exports a rise of 28.1 percent, and imports 25.9 percent.
Trade with major trading partners achieved rapid growth. Imports and exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the European Union and the U.S. increased by 27.8 percent, 26.7 percent, and 34.6 percent, respectively. Countries along the Belt and Road also saw a year-on-year increase of 27.5 percent in trade.
Domestically, consumption continued to bounce back. In the first half of the year, the retail sales of social consumer goods were 21.2 trillion yuan, an increase of 23 percent year-on-year, according to the MOFCOM, adding that consumption’s contribution to economic growth reached as high as 61.7 percent.
The retail sales of goods increased by 20.6 percent, of which automobiles, cosmetics and jewelry increased by 30.4 percent, 26.6 percent and 59.9 percent, respectively. The recovery of service consumption also has accelerated, with its proportion of household consumption expenditure increased by 3.2 percentage points to 52.5 percent. The catering sector has returned to the pre-COVID level, the ministry said.
New types of consumption, including online sales and 5G handset consumption, are booming. Online retail sales amounted to 6.1 trillion yuan, an increase of 23.2 percent, while 5G mobile phone shipments increased by 100.9 percent year on year in the first half of the year, according to the MOFCOM.
Auto market to see annual positive growth
As a major part of China’s consumption market, sales of automobiles reached 2.2 trillion yuan in the first half of this year, accounting for 13 percent of total retail sales.
Notably, the sales of green energy vehicles saw remarkable growth to 1.2 million, tripling the figure from the same period last year.
Zhu Xiaoliang, director of MOFCOM’s Department of Market System Development, said the main indexes of the auto market from January to June have exceeded pre-pandemic levels.
“With the steady recovery of China’s economy, promoting sales will bring strong support to the development of the automobile market,” Zhu said. “But the short supply of chips and rising prices of raw materials will negatively affect the market. But overall, we believe the sales of automobiles in China for the whole year will have positive growth, turning around the continued sales decline over the past three years.”
Zhu said China’s ownership rate was the equivalent of 200 cars per 1,000 people by the end of June, and the country will take more measures to boost the consumption of the automobile market.