Five Different Types of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

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Five Different Types of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)


 There are five different types of foreign direct investment (FDI):-


Green Field 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. However, it often does this by crowding out local industry; multinationals are able to produce goods more cheaply (because of advanced technology and efficient processes) and uses up resources (labor, intermediate goods, etc).

Another downside of greenfield investment is that profits from production do not feed back into the local economy, but instead to the multinational's home economy. This is in contrast to local industries whose profits flow back into the domestic economy to promote growth.

Mergers And Acquisition occur when a transfer of existing assets from local firms to foreign firms takes place, this is the primary type of FDI. 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. Unlike greenfield investment, acquisitions provide no long term benefits to the local economy-- even in most deals the owners of the local firm are paid in stock from the acquiring firm, meaning that the money from the sale could never reach the local economy.

Nevertheless, mergers and acquisitions are a significant form of FDI and until around 1997, accounted for nearly 90% of the FDI flow into the United States.

Horizontal Foreign Direct Investment: is investment in the same industry abroad as a firm operates in at home.

Vertical Foreign Direct Investment : Takes two forms:

1) backward vertical FDI: where an industry abroad provides inputs for a firm's domestic production process

2) forward verticle FDI: in which an industry abroad sells the outputs of a firm's domestic production processes.

The first type of FDI is taken to gain access to specific factors of production, e.g. resources, technical knowledge, material know-how, patent or brand names, owned by a company in the host country. If such factors of production are not available in the home economy of the foreign company, and are not easy to transfer, then the foreign firm must invest locally in order to secure access.

The second type of FDI is developed by Raymond Vernon in his product cycle hypothesis. According to this model the company shall invest in order to gain access to cheaper factors of production, e.g. low-cost labour. The government of the host country may encourage this type of FDI if it is pursuing an export-oriented development strategy. Since it may provide some form of investment incentive to the foreign company, in form of subsidies, grants and tax concessions. If the government is using an import-substitution policy instead, foreign companies may only be allowed to participate in the host economy if they possess technical or managerial know-how that is not available to domestic industry. Such know-how may be transferred through licensing. It can also result in a joint venture with a local partner.


The third type of FDI involves international competitors undertaking mutual investment in one another, e.g. through cross-shareholdings or through establishment of joint venture, in order to gain access to each other's product ranges. As a result of increased competition among similar products and R&D-induced specialisation this type of FDI emerged. Both companies often find it difficult to compete in each other's home market or in third-country markets for each other's products. If none of the products gain the dominant advantage, the two companies can invest in each other's area of knowledge and promote sub-product specialisation in production.

    GOVINDAM The fourth type of FDI concerns the access to customers in the host country market. In this type of FDI there are not observed any underlying shift in comparative advantage either to or from the host country. Export from the companies' home base may be impossible, e.g. certain services, or the capability to request immediate design modifications. The limited tradability of many services has been an important factor explaining the growth of FDI in these sectors.

The fifth type of FDI relates to the trade diversionary aspect of regional integration. This type occurs when there are location advantages for foreign companies in their home country but the existence of tariffs or other barriers of trade prevent the companies from exporting to the host country. The foreign companies therefore jump the barriers by establishing a local presence within the host economy in order to gain access to the local market. The local manufacturing presence need only be sufficient to circumvent the trade barriers, since the foreign company wants to maintain as much of the value-added in its home economy.


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Five Different Types of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

This article was published on 2012/03/06