Since 2004, an increasing number of Chinese companies have been investing in greenfield projects abroad. In 2011, there were nearly four times the number of Chinese FDI projects than there were in 2004. Despite this, however, crossborder greenfield projects by Chinese companies still only account for 3% of all projects globally. During 2011, almost 250 Chinese companies invested abroad in more than 400 greenfield projects, with almost $40bn invested and more than 75,000 jobs created as a result.

Western Europe received almost 30% of all projects by Chinese companies. However, capital investment per project was lowest in the region at just less than $25m. Capital investment per project was highest in the Middle East, where it averaged more than $350m. However, the Middle East region received the smallest number of projects by Chinese companies.

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The communications sector accounted for 14% of all projects by Chinese companies during 2011. The coal, oil and natural gas sector was the most capital intensive, with average investment per project at more than $800m.

The trend looks set to continue in the future, with Chinese investors including ZTE, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and Bank of China stating their intentions to step up investments abroad in 2012.