Outbound investment, calculated on the basis of deals closed, rose to $80.2 billion in the January-November period, exceeding the $77.2 billion for all of last year, the Ministry of Commerce said on Dec.19.
Shen Danyang, spokesman for the ministry, said it will continue to improve industrial guidance for Chinese investment in various overseas destinations and help strengthen training of transnational managers for the overseas operations of Chinese enterprises.
"We will try our best to simplify the approval procedures to encourage outward investment," Shen said at a news conference.
China will continue to negotiate agreements to boost outbound investment, including pacts with the United States and the European Union, Shen said.
From January to November, 72 percent of the investment was directed into seven economies — Hong Kong, ASEAN, the European Union, Australia, the United States, Russia and Japan.
But spending destined for Hong Kong edged down 0.6 percent, and that for Japan declined 13.3 percent amid strained relations, Shen said.
China's investment in Russia soared nearly sevenfold in the first 11 months, supported by "big projects", Shen said.
Russia's top oil producer Rosneft announced in October it had signed a memorandum of understanding with China's State-owned China National Petroleum Corp to create a joint venture for developing the remote East Siberian fields. The value of the deal was unspecified. CNPC also struck a deal in June to acquire a 20 percent stake in a liquefied natural gas project in the Russian Arctic known as the Yamal LNG.
Investment in the US jumped by 232 percent, and spending in Australia increased by 109 percent. Investment in the EU leaped by 89.9 percent.
In September, China's Shuanghui International took over US pork giant Smithfield Foods for $7.1 billion, the largest-ever Chinese acquisition of a US company.
During a visit to China in early December, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said that China's investment in the UK over the past 18 months exceeded all that in the past three decades, covering sectors ranging from telecom and infrastructure to nuclear power and high-speed trains.
Ge Shunqi, deputy head of the Institute of International Economics at Nankai University in Tianjin, said China's outbound investment will maintain robust growth, but the aim will shift from acquiring markets, resources, technology and brands to "building a globally competitive value chain".
"The government should focus on some new issues, such as intellectual property rights, environmental protection, labor and government procurement. These frontiers, rather than low labor costs, will decide the core competitiveness of Chinese enterprises globally," Ge said.
Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman of the China Center of International Economic Exchanges and a China Daily guest economist, said, "Now is the best time for Chinese private enterprises to go abroad".
Long Guoqiang, a researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council, said that China's regulations on outbound investment have failed to adapt to the boom in Chinese overseas investment.
"The government should first simplify approval procedures to reduce costs and raise efficiency. In addition, it should improve services related to information, talent, law and finance," Long said.