Global investment remained weak in October, with activity levels falling across the board from a year earlier, although data evidence is also suggesting that multinational companies are sowing the seeds for future investment campaigns. 

The fDi Index — which tracks foreign investors sentiment — stood at 703 points in October, down by 34.4% from the same month of 2019, according to figures from greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets

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While announced projects fell across geographies and sectors, investor signals — an early stage indication that a company will be considering an investment project down the line and a major component of the fDi Index — bucked the trend, reaching a record high of 420 signals in October, from 344 signals in the same month of 2019, fDi Markets figures show. 

The bulk of these signals were tracked in high value added sectors, such as ICT, financial services, life science and creative industries as Covid-19 accelerates digitisation and brings health to the forefront of public debate. 

Chinese social network platform TikTok unveiled plans to expand its global engineering team, adding approximately 3000 engineers in Canada, Europe, Singapore and the US by 2023. 

Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone and electric scooters manufacturer, has also announced it will continue to expand its footprint in overseas markets. After gaining a leadership in the Indian market in just a few years, the company plans to gain a lead in the European market by 2025, and in more developed countries in the future.

“We are confident about our future growth in overseas markets,” ChinaDaily quotes founder and chief executive Lei Jun as saying on October 15. 

In life sciences, Swiss pharma group Roche is looking at Africa for the next steps of its global expansion, as it plans to open new branches in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as considering Tanzania or Angola for future locations.

The month also saw the announcement of the largest project announced in the communications sector since fDi Markets started tracking the sector in 2003. Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica teamed up with German insurance company Allianz in a 50/50 joint venture to roll out a broadband fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) plan in Germany that entails the development of a 50,000-kilometre network. The joint venture plans on investing €5bn over the next six years, Telefonica said in a statement.