Foreign direct investment into China rose 4.8 percent year-on-year to 286.78 billion yuan($45.3 billion) between January and April, led by a robust inflow to the high-tech service and manufacturing sectors, particularly in western regions. FDI attracted by the service sector rose 7.9 percent on an annual basis to 201.4 billion yuan during the four-month period, the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday, accounting for 70.2 percent of the total.

While the high-tech service sector gained 32.53 billion yuan-worth of outside investment, an even-more impressive 108.6 percent surge.

Fast-growth businesses from the high-tech service sector, such as information technology,development of digitalization products, scientific research and development, jumped 195percent, 199 percent and 41 percent respectively from same period a year earlier.

Tang Wenhong, director-general of the ministry’s department of foreign investmentadministration, said overseas companies can certainly benefit from introducing theirrecognized brands, products, know-how and technology into China’s increasingly encouragedservices market.

He also highlighted B2B commercial sectors such as facilities management, outsourcing ofbusiness processes, financial or B2C businesses including hospital and healthcare, as prioritytarget investment areas.

“FDI in western regions posted strong growth between January and April, outpacing thenational total with a 36.2 percent jump year-on-year to reach 23.4 billion yuan,” Tang said.

“The great potential in the service industry and a relatively low base of comparisoncontributed to that surge.”

China remains one of the world’s most popular investment destinations, along with the UnitedStates and the European Union, after FDI into the country rose from $108.82 billion in 2010 to$126.27 billion last year.

A total of 8,298 new enterprises were established by foreign companies in the first four monthof this year, a 6.5 percent annual rise.

Eager to attract more foreign investment to put the country’s economic growth on a moresecure footing, Tang said the ministry plans a series of key measures to further ensure stableFDI inflows this year.

These include further relaxation of the requirements for foreign investment in service sectorssuch as education, finance and culture, and optimizing the administrative system to enhancework efficiency.

More foreign companies will be encouraged to invest in central and western regions, he said,and support will be given to the development of cross-border economic cooperation zones.