MANILA, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- China's investments in the Philippines reached 48.7 billion pesos (930 million U.S. dollars) in 2018, making China the Philippines' top foreign investor, a high-ranking Philippine official said on Friday.
Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez told a news conference that foreign investment, a major economic growth driver, hit 104 billion pesos (2 billion U.S. dollars) in 2018.
Lopez, who is also chairman of the Board of Investments, told Xinhua that China topped the list of foreign investors in the Philippines in 2018 with 48.7 billion pesos worth of investments "because of one big investment" project approved in December last year - the integrated iron steel plant in the Philippines.
Chinese firms Hebei Iron & Steel Group signed a memorandum of understanding last month with local steelmakers to invest in an iron and steel plant in the southern Philippines.
Lopez attributed the rapid increase in Chinese investments in the Philippines to the "improved relations" between the Philippines and China.
"Chinese investments have started to really pour in, and many of these are also the result of the presidential visits, the bilateral meetings between our two countries' leaders," he said.
"There are many more (Chinese investments) in manufacturing, in agriculture as well," he added.
According to the Board of Investments, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia were also the major foreign investors of the Philippines last year.