Corruption has helped boost economic growth on the mainland because Chinese officials reinvest their ill-gotten gains, a US academic says. China was one of the most corrupt countries in the world, but the problem had not limited growth, Professor Andrew Wedeman, who lectures in political science at the University of Nebraska, said recently during a visit to the Chinese University of Hong Kong. 'Corrupt officials have found it more profitable to invest money in China than elsewhere,' Professor Wedeman said. 'These investments in turn have fuelled further economic growth.' Much of the 'dirty money' was channelled through underground banks and stock markets or was laundered in Hong Kong, he said. But Professor Wedeman warned the cycle could be interrupted if other emerging economies challenged China's investment edge. 'By that time, the corrupt officials may think it more profitable to invest their money elsewhere. Such a drop in investment would in turn slow growth,' he said. Another reason for the strong growth was the 'princeling' children of high-ranking cadres and red-chip company officials had supported the reform and development policies in the belief they would benefit. Professor Wedeman said other motives, including the survival of the communist regime, were behind the reforms, which in turn spawned corruption. Yet anti-graft drives had helped control the problem. China had three main types of corruption, Professor Wedeman said. Looting, the simple systematic theft of funds, occurred mainly among local authorities. Rent scrapping involved the use of public policies to distort prices which resulted in kickbacks for officials. Through 'dividend collection' senior public officials enacted policies favourable for development and creamed off part of the profits.