The U.N. trade organization says China remains the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in Asia. In Burma, however, foreign investment has hit its highest level ever.
The United Nation Conference on Trade and Development says Asia remained the largest recipient of foreign direct investment among developing regions in 2005. Investment inflows into the region reached $165 billion last year.
About two thirds of that went to mainland China and Hong Kong. Singapore ranks number three on the list, with foreign investments totaling $20 billion. Inflows to India reached $10 billion, the highest level of foreign investment in the country ever seen.
Burma attracted its highest-ever level of direct foreign investment since the country opened to outside investors in 1988. The government says foreign investment in the fiscal year was more than $6 billion, compared with less than $160 million the previous year. Most of the increase was accounted for by investments in the power sector by neighbor Thailand.
Foreign investment helped fuel China's economy, which grew 10.4 percent in the third quarter. That gain was down from a sizzling 11.3 percent expansion in the previous three months that had prompted worries about inflation and debt. Economists say the modest slowdown is a sign that government efforts to prevent the economy from overheating are taking effect.
George Leung, an economist at HSBC bank in Hong Kong, says he expects the government will continue those efforts.
"I think at the moment they will keep the existing measures because right now the sign of slowdown is just beginning and we need to observe it for a longer period to see whether the trend can be sustained," he said. "If there is some signs in the future that the pace will get faster than they may take another round of macro-measures."
Malaysia's Fraser and Neave group has signed an $85 million deal with Swiss conglomerate Nestle to produce and sell the company's canned liquid milk products in Southeast Asia. Under the deal, the Malaysian company will take over Nestle's production facilities in Thailand. Canned milk is a staple in many Asian countries.