Beijing - Overseas investment into China rose 5.3 percent last year, official data showed Thursday, bouncing back after declining in 2012 for the first time in three years.

Foreign direct investment (FDI), which excludes financial sectors, totalled $117.59 billion last year, the commerce ministry said.

The figure is up from the $111.72 billion posted in 2012, when it skidded 3.7 percent in the face of economic weakness in developed markets and a growth slowdown at home.

For December alone FDI increased 3.3 percent year on year to $12.08 billion, the ministry said.

“In 2013, China's foreign direct investment steadily rebounded,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that it had increased for 11 straight months from February.

The ministry said FDI in the services sector made up more than half the total for the first time, accounting for 52.3 percent.

Services industry investment reached $61.45 billion, a gain of 14.2 percent, it said.

Chinese overseas investment rose 16.8 percent to $90.17 billion last year, the ministry said as mainland firms continue to buy foreign assets, particularly energy and resources, to power the world's number two economy

“China's overseas investment will probably exceed FDI next year or in 2016, if not this year,” ministry spokesman Shen Danyang told reporters.

FDI from the European Union jumped 18.1 percent to $7.2 billion in 2013, while that from the United States rose 7.1 percent to $3.35 billion.

But by far the most investment into China comes from a group of 10 Asian countries and regions including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and Singapore. FDI from those economies rose 7.1 percent to $102.52 billion.

FDI from Japan, however, fell 4.3 percent to $7.1 billion, the figures showed, as Asia's two largest economies remain engaged in territorial disputes that have led to a frosting of relations.

Among China's outbound investment destinations, Russia soared 518.2 percent to $4.08 billion last year with a raft of projects under way, including in the energy sector.

Chinese investment to the United States also surged, 125 percent to $4.23 billion.

In September, shareholders of US pork giant Smithfield Foods agreed a takeover by China's Shuanghui International, the biggest ever Chinese acquisition of a US company.

Investment to the European Union, however, fell 13.6 percent owing to trade disputes between Beijing and Brussels, including over Chinese solar panels and European wine.

Investment to Japan fell a sharp 23.5 percent, while to Hong Kong it slipped six percent, the ministry said, without providing totals. - Sapa-AFP