Western European companies established 5302 FDI projects overseas in  2010, investing an estimated $298bn and creating an estimated 735,798  jobs. The region accounted for 44% of FDI projects overseas, despite a  4% year-on-year decline.

FDI from Middle East companies continued  its sharp decline in 2010, with companies setting up 15% fewer FDI  projects in 2010, following a 32% decline in 2009. Capital investment by  companies headquartered in the region declined by more than 50% in  2010, following a 59% decline in 2009. Most notably Bahrain (-63%),  Saudi Arabia (-45%) and Kuwait (-26%) witnessed large negative growth in  FDI projects established overseas. The current political crisis in the  Middle East and north Africa means that the region's prospects for 2011  are uncertain. 


Rest of Europe rise

The 'Rest of  Europe' region, comprising eastern Europe, south-east Europe and Russia,  replaced the Middle East as the fourth largest source market for FDI  projects following a 20% increase in projects overseas in 2010. The Rest  of Europe was the only region to see an increase in capital investment  overseas, which was up 17%. 

North America, Asia-Pacific and Latin  America and the Caribbean all had small year-on-year increases of  outward FDI projects of 3%, 4% and 6%, respectively. Latin America and  the Caribbean is the only region to have a year-on-year increase in the  number of outward FDI projects over the past seven years, indicating the  economic growth and dynamism of the region. However, with only 2% of  global FDI projects, the region still has a long way to go before  becoming a global player in outward FDI.

Only 1.19% of global FDI  projects were from African companies in 2010, following another 12%  year-on-year decline in the number of overseas FDI projects. Investment  and jobs created by African companies overseas declined by 1% and 3%,  respectively, in 2010. 

US leads greenfield FDI

The  US was again the leading source country for greenfield FDI, with US  companies announcing 2800 FDI projects overseas, more than double the  number of the second leading source country, the UK. The US accounted  for 25% of global FDI projects, 16% of global capital investment and 20%  of estimated jobs created. US companies announced 113 more FDI projects  overseas in 2010 than in 2009, the highest increase in overseas FDI of  any source country.

After the US, the UK, Germany, Japan and  France were the top source countries for FDI in 2010. Of these  countries, Japan experienced the biggest year-on-year increase in  overseas FDI with a 14% increase in the number of projects, while France  had the biggest decline of 16%, with a 29% decline in capital  investment overseas.

South Korean companies recorded a 12.5%  growth in FDI projects overseas in 2010. Associated capital investment  increased by 36%, making the country the sixth largest investor overseas  in 2010, up from 11th place in 2009. An estimated 106,443 jobs were  created overseas by South Korean companies in 2010, 50% higher than in  2009, making the country the fifth biggest creator of jobs overseas in  the world.

London top source city

London remained the  top source city for FDI projects for the sixth year running in 2010,  with companies headquartered there announcing 616 FDI projects (5% of  the global total), with estimated capital investment of $41bn and  creating more than 70,000 jobs. 

Paris ranked second to London in  terms of outward FDI projects in 2010, although with a decline in  overseas projects of 19%, it led New York by only three projects. Tokyo  was in fourth position with Seoul in fifth.

Seoul-based companies  created more than 95,000 estimated jobs overseas in 2010, 59% higher  than 2009, ranking Seoul as the top source city in the world in terms of  job creation overseas. These jobs were created as a result of 171  projects and almost $32bn in estimated capital investment – an increase  of 38% compared with 2009.

Each of the 11 Japanese cities that  featured in the top 150 cities for FDI projects overseas in 2010  witnessed an increase in FDI projects in comparison with 2009. These  cities accounted for 6% of global FDI projects in 2010.