China is the recipient of bilateral and multilateral official development assistance and official aid to individual recipients. In 2003 it received US$1.3 billion in such disbursements, or about US$1 per capita. This total was down from the 1999 figures of US$2.4 billion and US$1.90 per capita. Some of this aid comes to China in the form of socioeconomic development assistance through the United Nations (UN) system. China received US$112 million in such UN assistance annually in 2001 and 2002, the largest portion coming from the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
China also obtains foreign capital through foreign loans, direct foreign investment (FDI), and other investment by foreign businesses. Since 1980 foreign businesses from more than 170 countries and regions have invested in Chinese joint-venture enterprises. Most joint-venture activities are located in coastal cities and increasing numbers in inland cities as well. Some 300 of the 500 top transnational companies in the world have invested in China, and foreign investments have become an important capital source for China’s economic development. In 1999 FDI totaled US$40.3 billion. Between 1979 and 1999, cumulative FDI totaled US$305.9 billion, US$40.3 billion of which was invested in 1999 alone. In that year, China had approved the establishment of 342,000 foreign-funded enterprises, more than 100,000 of which have gone into operation. Contracted FDI reached nearly US$82.8 billion in 2002, US$115 billion in 2003, US$153.48 in 2004, and US$130.33 billion in the first nine months of 2005.