Chinese President Xi Jinping said Monday that BRICS countries should endeavor to promote practical economic cooperation.

Despite the achievements the bloc has made, the potential for cooperation has yet to be fully unleashed, Xi said while addressing the opening of the ninth BRICS summit in the southeastern city of Xiamen.

The five countries’ foreign investment totaled US$197 billion in 2016, but only 5.7 percent took place between BRICS members, the president said.

He said the countries should increase cooperation in sectors such as trade and investment, monetary and financial areas, connectivity, sustainable development, innovation and industrial cooperation.

China will launch a BRICS economic and technological cooperation and exchange plan, with 500 million yuan (about US$76 million) in the first phase, to strengthen policy communication and practical cooperation in economic and trade fields, Xi said.

He said the country will also invest 4 million dollars to support projects of the BRICS New Development Bank.

The BRIC grouping of Brazil, Russia, India and China was formally established in 2006. In 2010, South Africa joined the group, and the acronym was changed to BRICS.