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Foreign direct investment

From Academic Kids

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is the movement of capital across national frontiers in a manner that grants the investor control over the acquired asset. Thus it is distinct from portfolio investment which may cross borders, but does not offer such control. Firms which source FDI are known as ‘multinational enterprises’ (MNEs). In this case control is defined as owning 10% or greater of the ordinary shares of an incorporated firm, having 10% or more of the voting power for an unincorporated firm or development of a greenfield branch plant that is a permanent establishment of the originating firm.

In the years after the Second World War global FDI was dominated by the United States, as much of the world recovered from the destruction wrought by the conflict. The U.S. accounted for around three-quarters of new FDI (including reinvested profits) between 1945 and 1960. Since that time FDI has spread to become a truly global phenomenon, no longer the exclusive preserve of OECD countries. FDI has grown in importance in the global economy with FDI stocks now constituting over 20% of global GDP.

Types of FDI:

  • Greenfield investment: direct investment in new facilities or the expansion of existing facilities. Greenfield investments are the primary target of a host nation’s promotional efforts because they create new production capacity and jobs, transfer technology and know-how, and can lead to linkages to the global marketplace. Greenfield investments are the principal mode of investing in developing countries.
  • Mergers and Acquisitions: occur when a transfer of existing assets from local firms to foreign firms takes place. Cross-border mergers occur when the assets and operation of firms from different countries are combined to establish a new legal entity. Cross-border acquisitions occur when the control of assets and operations is transferred from a local to a foreign company, with the local company becoming an affiliate of the foreign company. Mergers and acquisitions are the principal mode of investing in developed countries.

See also

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