China’s Non-Financial Outbound Direct Investment (ODI) in Countries along the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) has reached 14.1 billion U.S. dollars in the first ten months of 2020, a 23.1 percent year on year growth, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce on Thursday.

Despite the increased investment along Belt & Road Countries, the data showed that the country’s total ODI total dropped 3.2 percent to 602 billion yuan (about 91.5 billion U.S. dollars) from January to October compared to the same period last year.

China has also dispatched 231,000 labor workers to foreign labor service cooperation schemes, bringing the total number of laborers working abroad to 631,000 laborers as of the end of October.

China’s investment cooperation with BRI countries carried forward steadily, with non-financial direct investment increasing by 23.1 percent in these countries to hit 14.11 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 16.3 percent of the country’s total ODI figure, up by 3.6 percentage points over that of last year.

The amount of non-financial ODI by local Chinese enterprises expanded by 11.7 percent year on year in the first ten months of the year. Outbound investment across the country’s eastern regions has risen by 15.8 percent, while there was also an 11.1 percent year on year growth in western regions’ outbound investment.

There were 590 newly-signed overseas projects with contracts valued at more than 50 million U.S. dollars, accounting for 83.3 percent of the total of all newly-signed contracts exceeding this value. Contracts worth more than 100 million U.S. dollars also increased compared to last year, with 331 deals being reached from January to October.

The number of foreign investment contracts has been rising steadily across a number of industries, including in the field of construction, electrical engineering and in water conservation projects, the data showed.