Spanish clothing company Inditex tops the list of the most active foreign investors in 2013, according to greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets. With 76 new projects, Inditex ranked ahead of Seattle-based internet giant Amazon and Swedish clothing brand H&M, which launched 70 and 65 new ventures last year, respectively.

Most of Inditex’s investments last year were in store openings, particularly in Poland, Romania and Ukraine, which accounted for 41% of the company's projects. Likewise, H&M’s expansion in 2013 was also targeted at store openings, with most located in the US, the UK, and central and eastern Europe (CEE).


Amazon's investment activity focused on opening customer services centres, as well as data processing and web hosting operations. More than 40% of all Amazon's new investments last year were located in the US, but the company was also busy in other regions, including CEE and central America.

Although second in terms of the number of projects launched, Amazon holds the lead when it comes to greenfield job creation. Last year the company created an estimated 15,683 jobs, ahead of Forestal Oriental, a subsidiary of the Finnish company UPM-Kymmene specialising in paper production and biorefining, and Aegis, a Mumbai-based outsourcing subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Essar. Forestal Oriental created 6000 jobs last year with its new forestry project in Mozambique, while Aegis added 5650 jobs with eight new ventures spread across the US.

The biggest capital investor recorded by fDi Markets last year was Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investments. The company made it to the top of the list of biggest spenders in 2013 by announcing in June that it was planning to spend $40bn to build and manage a waterway through Nicaragua. The Inter-Oceanic Nicaragua Canal is designed as an alternative to the Panama Canal and is scheduled to be finished by 2024.

Number two on the list of the biggest investors in terms of capital expenditure is Russian nuclear power company Rusatom, which is planning on building a nuclear power plant in Jordan at a cost of $10bn. The plant is Jordan’s first facility of its type, expected to supply 12% of the country's electricity needs and be operative by 2020.