Global FDI projects increased by 30% in 2008, and in line with previous years Asia-Pacific received the largest proportion of projects of all world regions. Asia-Pacific secured 5066 FDI projects, $473bn in investment and nearly 1.5 million new jobs during 2008. The region accounted for 33% of total FDI projects, 31% of capital investments and 37% of new jobs created through FDI.

Western Europe continued to attract a large proportion of FDI projects and Europe as a whole surpassed Asia-Pacific in terms of number of projects. However, despite coming second in the league table for the number of projects, Western Europe received similar levels of capital investment and almost half the number of new jobs created in the rest of Europe. The average FDI project in the rest of Europe involved the creation of 366 new jobs, compared to 119 jobs per project in western Europe.


North America secured 1144 new FDI projects during 2008, which in turn involved $108bn in capital investment and generated 152,557 new jobs. North America’s market share has remained relatively steady during the past six years, averaging out at 8% of total global projects. However, North America received among the lowest number of new jobs created per project.

Latin America and the Caribbean attracted 7% of total FDI projects during 2008, a higher market share than in the past three years, and secured the lowest amount of capital investment of all world regions during 2008. However, the region received the highest number of new jobs per project, averaging at 377 new jobs for every project recorded.

Although the Middle East and Africa attracted fewer projects than the other regions, it experienced the highest annual growth, of 90% and 114%, respectively, in terms of number of projects. Africa also achieved the largest annual growth in terms of capital expenditure and jobs created, growing by 136% and 35%, respectively, between 2007 and 2008. Africa ranked second only to Asia-Pacific in terms of capital investment in FDI projects but this was due largely to investments in capital-intensive activities such as extraction and mining.

China dominates

China attracted 1483 FDI projects, $124bn in investment and nearly 500,000 new jobs, far out-weighing all other destination countries. In terms of global market share, China received 10% of new projects, 8% of capital investment and 12% of new jobs created in 2008. Although China continues in its dominance and growth, it has experienced a slowdown, with below-average annual growth for all indicators – 25% in project numbers, 28% in capital investment and 22% in jobs created, compared with 30%, 56% and 37% average global growth, respectively.

The top five destination countries together accounted for nearly one-third of total global FDI projects. Each of the top five countries experienced an increase in the number of projects during 2008; however, in terms of proportional growth India achieved the largest year-on-year growth of 39%.

Of the top 20 destination countries, only Hungary and Romania had declines in the number of projects recorded in 2008 compared with 2007. Thailand achieved the highest annual growth of the top 20 destination countries, with a 168% growth in project numbers.

In terms of capital investment the UK, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil and Nigeria all showed impressive increases between 2007 and 2008. Saudi Arabia and Singapore, on the other hand, showed a decline in capital investment through FDI despite receiving more projects.

In terms of new jobs created, each of the top five countries showed positive growth, with Russia displaying the largest yearly increase of 46%. Of the top 20 destination countries Vietnam, Philippines and Bulgaria exhibited negative growth.

Dubai overtakes


For the first time since data collection began in 2003, Dubai became the top destination city by number of FDI projects and capital investment, growing by an impressive 59% and 122%, respectively, between 2007 and 2008 and racing past Shanghai and London to take the top spot.

Shanghai, although still a strong global competitor, showed very weak growth of a mere 6% in number of projects and 3% in jobs created while the global picture was an average growth of 30% and 37%, respectively. London continued to grow in 2008, albeit at a slower pace than Dubai.

Bucharest was the shining star in terms of job creation in 2008, creating 86,173 new jobs, accounting for 2% of jobs created globally and growing 130% year on year.

The top five destination cities accounted for 8% of total number of FDI projects, 5% of total capital expenditure and 7% of total new jobs created globally in 2008.