China’s foreign direct investments last year hit a record $189 billion dollars, a report released this week showed.

According to the study done by the German Mercatur Institute for China Studies (MERICS) and Rhodium Group, China’s investments abroad rose an overall 40 per cent, with money going to the European Union amounting to $37.1 billion – 77 per cent more than in 2015.

Chinese investors looked to pour funds towards acquiring advanced manufacturing equipment and technology.

The Asian giant has also recently announced a number of measures that would open up its markets for foreign direct investment, seeking to topple India’s spot as the prime investment hub.

Beijing announced that foreign companies will be allowed to launch initial public offers on the Chinese stock market.

The Chinese National Development Reforms Commission (NDRC) has also significantly cut some of the restrictions on foreign investors.

The report showed that in 2016, European investments in China dropped for the fourth consecutive year and amounted to $8.4 billion.

“The growing gap in two-way investment flows is fueling European perceptions of a fundamental lack of ‘reciprocity’ between the EU and China,” the report stated.

The data comes amid another report which showed that China’s exports have fallen due to persistent weakened global commodity demand

The General Administration of Customs (GAC) said that China’s exports in yuan-denominated terms dropped two per cent to 13.84 trillion yuan (about $2 trillion) year on year in 2016, while imports rose 0.6 per cent from the 2015 level to 10.49 trillion yuan.

The total export and import value decreased 0.9 in 2016 to 24.33 trillion yuan, according to GAC.