• Foreign stores sell food products in Yangshan Bonded Port Area at the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.

Foreign stores sell food products in Yangshan Bonded Port Area at the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. (Photo : Getty Images)

The Chinese government has lifted restrictions on foreign investment in sectors such as services, manufacturing and mining, to enhance the country's competitiveness in the global market as well as attract foreign capital into the country.

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The Global Times reported that China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) is also opening up financial institutions and other services that include auditing, architectural design and rating, based on the seventh revision to the country's foreign investment industry catalogue.

In the past years, China restricted foreign investment in the services sector by limiting the ownership ratios and investment methods, Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Business at the University of International Business and Economics, said.

"As China's competitiveness in the services sector has risen, the country is now in need of foreign capital. Foreign investment could help those industries develop as well as offer support for the real economy," Sang told the Global Times.

MOFCOM data showed that in the first 11 months of 2016, China's foreign direct investment (FDI) reached about 731.8 billion yuan ($105.6 billion), a 3.9 percent increase from the same period last year.

In the services sector, FDI increased by 8 percent in the same period, accounting for nearly 70.1 percent of the country's total FDI.

Wang Shouwen, MOFCOM vice minister, said in a briefing on Friday, Jan. 6, that a series of measures to enhance FDI were presented by different ministries late last month.

On Dec. 7, the MOFCOM and the National Development and Reform Commission sought public input for revision to the foreign investment industry catalogue.

The agency said it is working to hasten the final revision for the draft catalogue to be presented to the State Council as the period for public input closed on Friday, Jan. 6.

Based on the new catalogue, the number of domestic industries restricted to foreigners will be decreased from 93 to 62.

According to experts, China is striving to attract foreign capital by enhancing its business environment. However, it is facing challenges from the global markets.

Chen Fengying, an expert at the Institute of World Economics Studies under the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said that one of the major challenges is the flow of global capital to the U.S.

Chen noted that the global investment situation could be structured as developed countries such as the U.S. may try to bring manufacturing jobs back to their countries.

Chen added that new measures will be adopted by government to ease foreign business in China such as creating a level field, the streamlining of business registration and intensified efforts to remove it from the negative list.

On the other hand, Sang added that the country will also step up efforts on globalization investment liberalization to attract foreign investors.

"For industries where the government encourages foreign investment, preferential policies about tax and land use will be provided to investors," Sang said.

MOFCOM vice minister Wang said that China is committed to opening up its market to foreign investment despite an increase in anti-globalization and protectionism in the world market.