Chinese overseas direct investment (ODI) rose to nearly $120 billion last year, official data showed Wednesday, as the world's second-largest economy sought to acquire foreign technologies, expand markets and diversify energy supply.
ODI leapt 14.7 percent from a year earlier to $118.0 billion in 2015, just ahead of the previous year's expansion, according to the commerce ministry.
It remained below inward foreign direct investment (FDI) of $126.3 billion, so the world's second-largest economy remained a net importer of capital. Both ODI and FDI exclude financial sectors.
Outbound investment in the 10-member ASEAN group of Southeast Asian nations jumped 60.7 percent and was up a similar 60.1 percent to the US, the ministry said in a statement, without providing totals.
The biggest individual acquisition was state-owned ChemChina's purchase of emblematic Italian tyremaker Pirelli, ministry spokesman Shen Danyang told reporters.
Chinese firms' takeovers were "large in value and broad in terms of industries and countries involved", he said, adding they remained active in the field despite a sluggish global economy.
Beijing encourages Chinese firms to expand overseas under a so-called "go abroad" strategy as the country faces multiple development bottlenecks.
Among these are manufacturing overcapacity, insufficient domestic demand and increasing energy and resources consumption.
Slumping international commodity prices have also reduced the cost of their investments, as have some currency swings such as the weakening euro.
State-backed Unisplendour Corporation Limited announced in September it would buy 15 percent of US data storage company Western Digital Corp for $3.8 billion.
Chinese power company Three Gorges in November won the right to operate two large hydropower plants in Brazil for 13.8 billion reals ($3.4 billion).