Chinese businesses' overseas investment slowed in Q1 as regulators stepped in to contain reckless growth in the sector, according to a report by auditing company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Chinese businesses reported 142 mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals overseas in Q1, down 39 percent from Q1 last year.

In value terms, China's outbound M&A came in at 21.2 billion U.S. dollars, down 77 percent year on year,the PwC report said.

Chen Chao with PwC attributed the slowdown to Chinese regulators' tightening requirements on overseas investments and rising uncertainties worldwide.

Earlier data from PwC showed China's outbound M&A soared 246 percent by value to 221 billion dollars in 2016, more than the previous four years combined.

Noting an "irrational tendency" in outbound investment, Chinese authorities have set stricter rules and advised companies to make their investment decisions more carefully.

At a press conference on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session last month, central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said the country is seeing overheated and hasty outbound investment in industries such as sports and entertainment that does little for China's economy and is not welcomed abroad.

While promising efforts to contain the trend, Zhou reiterated the government stance of supporting and encouraging businesses to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation between China and other countries.