BEIJING - China will continue to support foreign investment, Vice Commerce Minister Ma Xiuhong pledged Wednesday as the government released figures showing a 7.7-percent year-on-year rise in foreign direct investment in the first quarter.
FDI to China increased to 23.44 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter, Ma said.
"It has always been a major task for the Chinese government to provide a better environment and further facilitate trade and investment," Ma said at a press conference while discussing China's new foreign investment rules unveiled late Tuesday by the State Council, China's Cabinet.
The new regulations promised to improve business conditions while restricting funding to environmentally unsound projects.
Under the rules, foreign investment in high-tech industries, the service sector, energy-efficient and environmental protection projects is encouraged, especially in China's central and western regions.
Qualified foreign-funded companies will also be allowed to go public, issue corporate bonds or medium-term bills in China.
A total of 5,459 overseas-funded ventures were established in the past three months, up 19.9 percent from the corresponding period last year, said Ma.
"China is still the most attractive place for overseas investment," she said, citing survey results from management consultancy A.T. Kearney and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
"With the new regulations, we will put more efforts into creating a more open and friendly environment for overseas firms," she added.