BEIJING (Reuters) - China will further open up its economy to foreign investors, new commerce minister Zhong Shan said on Monday, and he hopes foreign companies will play a bigger role in boosting China's slowing economy, according to Xinhua, the official news agency. The Chinese government has been looking to increase foreign investment after outbound investment surpassed inbound funding last year for the first time.

Foreign direct investment into China fell 9.2 percent in January, though a Ministry of Commerce spokesman said the data should not be seen as representing a trend for the year.

Zhong was appointed head of the Ministry of Commerce on Friday, replacing Gao Hucheng.

Zhong said China aims this year to develop free trade zones, improve the business environment and push forward reforms of foreign investment management, according to Xinhua.


(Reporting by Elias Glenn, editing by Larry King)

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