China's non-financial outbound direct investment (ODI) saw a drastic decline in 2017 amid government efforts to curb irrational investment overseas.
Chinese investors spent a total of 120 billion U.S. dollars on 6,236 enterprises from 174 countries and regions last year, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said in a statement.
The year-on-year decline, at 29.4 percent for the whole of last year, narrowed from the 33.5-percent drop for the first 11 months.
Han Yong, an official with the MOC, said that "irrational outbound investment has been curbed."
In December alone, China's non-financial ODI increased 49 percent, tracking a gain of 34.9-percent in November.
No new projects were reported in property, sports or entertainment in the last two months.
China's ODI has seen rapid growth in recent years. However, noting an "irrational tendency" in outbound investment, Chinese authorities have set stricter rules and advised companies to make investment decisions more carefully.
In a document released in August, the State Council said overseas investment in areas including real estate, hotels, cinemas, and entertainment would be limited, while investment in sectors such as gambling would be banned.
In November, the National Development and Reform Commission, China's economic planning body, released a new draft rule on outbound investment, including stipulations on the investment activities of firms established overseas by domestic companies.
Investment in 2017 mainly went to leasing and commercial services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and information technology sectors.
Meanwhile, ODI to countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative has been encouraged.
In 2017, China's non-financial ODI in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative totaled 14.36 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 12 percent of the total, up from 8.5 percent in 2016.