Overseas Investment and Economic Aid
China has also begun to make investment abroad. It has now more than 160 foreign investment markets, and 5,793 investment enterprises outside Chinese territory. Those oversea investment enterprises are engaged in a wide range of business, including foreign trade, real estate investment, information consultancy, finance, insurance, catering, tourism, contracted labor services, culture, education, public health and technological development. By the end of 2004 China had had a net volume of direct overseas investment of US$37 billion (excluding finance), and an accumulative business amount of US$114 billion had been achieved from China's external contracting projects.
In September 2002, China's TCL Corporation purchased the Schneider Company, a German TV set manufacturer. In 2003 TCL teamed with Thomson, the biggest French consumer electronics company, to establish TCL-Thomson to become the world's largest TV set producer with an output capacity of 18 million sets a year. The Haier Group, China’s largest producer of household electronic appliances, has production centers in the United States, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Iran. It has expanded capacity at its US refrigerator plant in South Carolina from 400,000 to 500,000 units a year, in addition to setting up 13 factories in 11 countries of Europe and Latin America. The Lenovo Group, China's largest computer company, also expanded its overseas market rapidly; in December 2004 it bought IBM's personal computer business at the price of US$1.25 billion, thus becoming the world’s third biggest PC provider, after Dell and HP.
Since the 1950s, China has been providing economic aid to other developing countries. Since the adoption of the policy of reform and opening up to the outside world in 1978, China has sped up its pace of foreign aid; the projects involve agriculture, forestry, water conservancy, light industries, power, machine-building, chemical industries, transportation, culture, education, public health and public utilities. Some projects are large-or-medium-sized, while others are small ones featuring less investment, but quick and high economic returns.