A clerk counts yuan bank notes and US dollar bills at a branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Huaibei, East China's Anhui province. [Photo/IC] China's record-setting use of foreign direct investment last year reflects foreign investors' strengthened confidence in doing business in the country, analysts and business executives said. Their confidence has been inspired by reduced barriers to investment, improvement of the business environment and, most important, optimism over China's economic outlook featuring the new "dual circulation" development paradigm, they said. Their comments came on the heels of the latest official data showing China's actual use of FDI surged 6.2 percent year-on-year to 999.98 billion yuan ($154.6 billion) in 2020, a historic high. In US dollar terms, the foreign capital inflow went up by 4.5 percent year-on-year to $144.37 billion last year, the Ministry of Commerce announced on Wednesday. The structure of FDI also was improved. The country's service sector attracted 776.77 billion yuan of FDI in 2020, jumping 13.9 percent on a yearly basis, accounting for 77.7 percent of the country's total use of foreign investment. In the meantime, annual FDI from the Netherlands grew by 47.6 percent, from the United Kingdom by 30.7 percent, and from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations by 0.7 percent. "China showed strong economic resilience during the pandemic, becoming the only major economy projected to have positive growth," said Cui Fan, an international trade and economics professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. "Its future growth potential also remains stronger than that of most other major economies, as it is shifting to dual circulation development, featuring further opening-up and the synergy of domestic and foreign markets, with constant rollouts of policy measures facilitating investment and enhancing the business environment."