Multinational companies put $8.2 billion into China in February, a 6.3 percent year-over-year increase and the first rise in foreign direct investment for the Asian giant in nine months, the country’s Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.

Outbound non-financial investment rose to $18.4 billion in the first two months of the year, a 147 percent increase from last year, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

In February, Beijing-based Sinopec Group, which owns China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (HKG:0386), China’s second-largest energy concern, announced China’s largest investment in the U.S. so far this year: a $1 billion acquisition of half of Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s (NYSE:CHK) oil and gas assets in the Mississippi Lime deposit.

Investment from European Union-based companies increased 34 percent to $1.2 billion while investments from U.S.-based firms dropped 5.4 percent to $497 million.

"Our general estimate is that FDI will remain steady for the whole year, which means significant rises and drops are not likely," Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang told a press conference in Beijing.

Earlier this month the new government in Beijing predicted that non-financial inbound FDI would rise 1.2 percent to $113 billion in 2013 after falling 3.7 percent to $117.7 billion last year, the first drop in three years. Meanwhile, outbound investment by Chinese companies is expected by the government to increase 15 percent to $88.7 billion this year.

The country’s GDP grew 7.9 percent in the first three months of the year, up from the previous quarter’s 7.4 percent. The new government’s target annual GDP growth through 2020 is 7.5 percent; the economy expanded in 2012 by 7.8 percent, the lowest in 13 years.