Beijing, Sept 22: China invested more money abroad last year than foreign firms piled into the country, data showed on Thursday, a first for the world's second largest economy as Beijing looks overseas as part of its drive to transform its economic growth model.
Overseas direct investment soared more than 18 percent to an all-time high of over $145 billion last year, exceeding the USD 135.6 billion of foreign direct investment, according to the 2015 Statistical Bulletin of China's Outward Foreign Direct Investment, published on Thursday.
The milestone was a result of the "enhancement of China's comprehensive national power", deepening cooperation, and Beijing's strategy of encouraging Chinese firms to "go abroad" in search of growth, it said.
Chinese firms "have to make use of international resources and markets to transform and upgrade," the commerce ministry's representative Zhang Xiangchen told reporters at a press conference.
"We feel companies currently are keen to go abroad and actively integrate into global innovation, manufacturing and market networks."
China's economy grew at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century last year, and has decelerated further since then as the country faces multiple development bottlenecks. Among these are manufacturing overcapacity, insufficient domestic demand and increasing energy and resources consumption.