Business / Economy

ASEAN eyes greater investment from China

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-01-15 10:21

HONG KONG - ASEAN is looking forward to greater investment from China, a senior ASEAN official said on Tuesday.

"The foreign direct investment flow from China to ASEAN increased significantly by 117 percent from $2.7 billion in 2010 to $5.9 billion in 2011. However, ASEAN still invested more in China than China's investment in ASEAN," Ngurah Swajaya, permanent representative of Indonesia to ASEAN, said at the Asian Financial Forum (AFF) which opened on Monday.

Ties between the world's second-largest economy and ASEAN have deepened in recent years. China has been ASEAN's largest trading partner since 2009 while ASEAN is currently China's third-largest trading partner.

Statistics showed that bilateral trade between ASEAN and China increased by 20.9 percent from $232 billion in 2010 to $280.4 billion in 2011. Last year, leaders from both sides agreed to achieve $500 billion by 2015 and $1 trillion by 2020.

"We hope that partnership between China and ASEAN will be enhanced and deepened and we can benefit from each other's prosperity," Swajaya said.

As ASEAN aims to establish a single-market economic community comprising 600 million people by the end of 2015, speakers shared their insights on how China can take advantage of the opportunities available in this huge market.

"The burgeoning ASEAN's middle-class means huge business opportunities for Hong Kong and Chinese mainland companies," said Michael Yeoh, co-founder and chief executive officer of Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute.

Yeoh called for enhanced collaboration between the two sides' capital market as the 10-country bloc needs enormous capital to invest in infrastructure projects and drive its economic growth.

Against the backdrop of continued weak global growth, ASEAN's economy still grew by 5.7 percent in 2012 and 5.3 percent in 2013. It is also predicted that ASEAN will grow 5.6 percent in 2014.

Themed "Asia: Powering World Growth", the seventh AFF focused on Asia's fast-expanding role in the global economy and run through Tuesday.

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