TOKYO, Jan 5 (Reuters): Nearly all Japanese firms surveyed in a poll by the news agency plan to either maintain or bolster investment in China in 2006 to take advantage of its economic growth and business opportunities ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The poll of about 180 companies found that 53 per cent expect to maintain current levels of business activity in China and nearly 47 per cent plan to boost their presence.
Less than 1 per cent said they plan to scale back activity.
"Business opportunities will probably grow in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics," a respondent in the services sector said.
Japanese direct investment in China totalled 490.9 billion yen ($4.23 billion) in the year that ended in March 2005, up 38 per cent from the previous year.
China's gross domestic product grew more than 9 per cent in 2005, similar to the growth rates of 2003 and 2004.
But some respondents cited risks in doing business in China.
"There are no legal systems in place, such as intellectual property rights," said a respondent in the wholesale business.
An electronics firm said its China operations were now facing rising labour costs and difficulties retaining specialist workers.
Forecasts for the Chinese yuan in 2006 were mixed, but most respondents expected it to strengthen slightly. The yuan hit a post-revaluation record high versus the dollar Wednesday. The yuan was revalued by 2.1 per cent on July 21 to 8.11 per dollar.