In 2018, greenfield FDI strengthened with the number of FDI projects increasing 7% to 14,845, according to fDi Intelligence’s annual report on crossborder greenfield investment trends.

Capital investment increased 42% to $917.3bn alongside a 25% increase in job creation to 2.3 million, The fDi Report 2019 revealed. This in contrast with a 15% global decrease in capital investment reported in 2017. 


China replaced the US as the highest ranked country for FDI by capital investment last year, with $107.2bn recorded, boosted by major announcements from Foxconn and BASF totalling $19bn. The US was the highest ranked country for FDI by number of projects, however, recording 1581 announcements compared with China’s 796 projects.

Asia-Pacific received the largest level of capital investment of any world region in 2018 with $377.7bn-worth of FDI recorded.Western Europe was the leading destination region for FDI in 2018 by number of projects with 4385 announcements. Western Europe was also the leading source region for FDI in 2018, with 6524 FDI projects recorded. This accounted for 44% of all FDI globally and $305.9bn in capital investment.

The number of FDI projects into Europe in 2018 declined overall by 2%; however, capital investment increased 30% to $216.2bn.

FDI into North America increased by 14% in 2018, with total capital investment of $113.6bn. Projects numbers remained stable. The number of FDI projects into Latin America and the Caribbean increased by 33% in 2018 to 1420, and capital investment grew by 15% to $74.5bn.

FDI into the Middle East and Africa by project numbers increased 7% in 2018 to 1253, with capital investment increasing by 14%.

Among sectors, coal, oil and natural gas maintained the top spot for capital investment in 2018 with $134.6bn of FDI recorded. FDI in real estate increased to 1146 projects. The increase in popularity of co-working locations contributed to this rise.

The top three sectors by number of projects in 2018 were software and IT services, business services and real estate, with real estate replacing the third-ranked sector of 2017, financial services. Software and IT services once again maintained its place as the top sector for project numbers, reporting 2360 in 2018, down 1% from 2017.

Of the top five sectors by number of projects, real estate and financial services were the only two to achieve growth. Communications witnessed an 11% increase by number of projects, after a decline in 2017. The biggest decrease in project numbers came in healthcare (-24%), business machines and equipment (-14%), medical devices (-12%) and plastics (-12%).

Hotels and tourism witnessed a significant increase of 120% by number of projects, rising from 234 projects in 2017 to 514 in 2018. This sector also saw an increase of 187% in capital investment.

To download the full report, click here