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International relations

China outspends US in ASEAN investment blitz

Solar panel plant in Malaysia and new highway in Laos

Solar power company Risen Energy has agreed to invest $10 billion in Malaysia's solar panel industry.   © Reuters

JAKARTA/BEIJING -- China plans to open a big solar panel module plant in Malaysia and build a 580 km highway in Laos, part of a charm offensive as the U.S. steps up efforts to counter Beijing's influence in Southeast Asia.

The plant will be built by Chinese solar power giant Risen Energy, which has agreed to invest 42.2 billion ringgit ($10.1 billion) in the photovoltaic industry in Malaysia, the nation's Ministry of International Trade and Industry announced June 24.

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