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PARIS, Feb 06 AFP

February 07 2013, 07:50AM

Foreign mergers and acquisitions by Chinese investors set a record last year, while domestic purchases marked a pause, a study released on Wednesday by the accounting firm PwC shows.

PricewaterhouseCoopers put total Chinese investment abroad in 2012 at $US65.2 billion ($A62.99 billion), an annualised leap of 54 per cent, a statement said.

The number of investments declined slightly meanwhile to 191 transactions from 206 deals in 2011, but they still represented one-third of all Chinese investments, the statement said.

PwC forecast another record this year.

But Chinese domestic mergers and acquisitions fell by 28 per cent in value to $US97.1 billion ($A93.81 billion), and by 23 per cent in volume to 2,953 last year, their lowest level in five years, the audit and consulting group said.

Thierry Charpentier, head of transactions of PwC's China Business Group, forecast an improvement, saying in the French-language statement that the domestic decline "does not mean that investors have lost their appetite for doing business in China."

In terms of volume, Japanese investors were the most active in China last year, but in terms of overall value, those from Europe and the United States were more committed, the study showed.