China has surpassed the United States to become Australia’s largest foreign investor, official data show.
Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) said in its annual report on Thursday that China spent over AUD 27.7 billion (USD 21.8 billion) in Australia’s market in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2014, far outstripping the United States and Canada with AUD 17.5 billion and AUD 15.4 billion, respectively.
“For the first time, China was the largest source of proposed foreign investment in Australia, mainly driven by a large increase in residential real estate approvals,” the report stated.
This is while the United States was the country’s biggest investor for over ten years.
The report added that China’s real estate purchases in Australia increased to AUD 12.4 billion, showing a dramatic surge in comparison with the AUD 5.9 billion of the previous financial year.
The economic giant also allocated AUD 6.2 billion to services, AUD 5.7 billion to mining and AUD 3.3 billion to the manufacturing sector of Australia.
This is while the Asian countries of Malaysia and Singapore ranked fourth and fifth in the list of Australia’s top foreign investors with AUD 7.2 billion and AUD 7.1 billion, respectively.
Australia’s Treasurer Joe Hockey said that the report demonstrates “once again, Australia is open for business.”
“Foreign investment is critical to the Australian economy. We welcome all foreign investment that is not contrary to our national interests. A strong regulatory framework is essential to maintain the integrity of the system and we will have more to say about that in the coming days,” he went on to say.
Earlier in the day, Property Council of Australia also hailed the constructive influence of foreign investment on the country’s economy.
“Foreign investment is helping accelerate much needed new housing supply in Australia and creating jobs in construction,” said the council in a statement.
In 2014, the International Monetary Fund announced that China has overtaken the US as the world’s largest economy, predicting that China’s economy will be 20 percent larger than that of the US by 2019.