BEIJING, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- The following are the highlights of China's key business news from the past week:
The National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement that new house prices in four first-tier cities, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, edged up 0.4 percent month on month in January, retreating from the 1.3-percent increase in December.
New home prices climbed 0.7 percent in 31 second-tier cities, and rose 0.6 percent in 35 third-tier cities.
On a year-on-year basis, both new and resold home price registered increases in most Chinese cities, with second and third-tier cities seeing more robust growth than bigger cities like Beijing and Shanghai.
OUTBOUND DIRECT INVESTMENT
China's non-financial outbound direct investment (ODI) in 47 countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative rose 8.1 percent year on year to 1.33 billion U.S. dollars in January this year, data showed Thursday.
China's non-financial ODI in 973 overseas companies in 137 countries and regions stood at 9.19 billion U.S. dollars last month, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said in a statement.
Compared with 10.8 billion U.S. dollars registered in January 2018, Gao Feng, the MOC spokesperson, said the decline was due to various reasons, including a forecast of slowed global economic growth this year and enhanced security checks from certain countries and regions.
ONLINE RETAIL SALES IN THE RURAL
Online retail sales across China's rural areas soared to 1.37 trillion yuan (about 201.47 billion U.S. dollars) in rural areas in 2018, up 30.4 percent year on year, according to the MOC.
Online sales of agricultural products amounted to 230.5 billion yuan, representing a year-on-year growth of 33.8 percent.
In China, e-commerce has become a key way to help the underprivileged get rid of poverty. Last year, a nationwide e-commerce alliance was formed by 29 organizations and companies to help farmers in 351 poor counties promote their produce online.
China's auto market remained sluggish in January, with sales down 15.8 percent year on year, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed Monday.
New energy vehicles performed strongly however, with sales surging 138 percent year on year to 96,000 units. Sales of all-electric cars hit 75,000 vehicles, up 179.7 percent, while those of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles amounted to 21,000, up 54.6 percent.