Thousands of people lined Harare's roads and welcomed Chinese president Xi Jinping, whose visit has raised hopes that China will help stabilize Zimbabwe's faltering economy.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe greeted Xi at the airport.

Xi inspected a guard of honor at the airport but did not speak on his arrival. He is expected to address a joint press conference with Mugabe after signing economic deals later on Tuesday.

Chinese ambassador to Harare Huang Ping said that China is Zimbabwe's biggest foreign investor, pumping in $600 million in 2013. He said Mugabe and Xi are expected to sign several economic deals.

Xi is in Zimbabwe until Wednesday before heading to South Africa for a forum on cooperation between Africa and China.