Foreign financial institutions invested heavily in Chinese stocks in the first quarter due to a bullish stock market.
The holdings of financial institutions that invest in China's stock market through the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (QFII) program surpassed 96 billion yuan (14.26 billion U.S. dollars) at the end of March, up more than 50 percent from the end of last year, Securities Daily reported Monday.
The paper said the warming stock market lured foreign investors to buy in more, and fast-rising share prices also boosted the value of their holdings.
Societe Generale, a French multinational investment bank, came as one of the briskest buyers. In its investment portfolio of 141 listed Chinese companies, 138 were added in the first three months.
Sectors including machinery, home appliances, chemicals, medical equipment, property and auto parts were particularly favored by foreign investors.
The QFII program, introduced in 2002, allows overseas institutional investors to invest in China's capital market, and financial authorities have been since then lowering the threshold of the program to facilitate capital flows.
The securities watchdog unveiled draft rules that will combine the QFII program and another existing scheme for foreign investors in January, with easier access and expanded investment scopes, shortly after foreign exchange regulator doubled the total quota of the program to 300 billion U.S. dollars.
China's stock market was on a gaining streak in Q1, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index up by more than 20 percent.