The Middle East has seen increased FDI activity in the consumer electronics sector for the past several years. The United Arab Emirates is the top destination in the region for such projects, according to greenfield investment data from fDi Markets.
Projects numbers, while small (fDi recorded 42 investments in the region since 2003 with a handful each year), are inching upwards year by year. It is noteworthy that of these projects, the top business function was sales, marketing and support, with the region winning no manufacturing projects since 2008.
Among the projects tracked, audio electronics company Tannoy has opened an office in Dubai's Media City. The new office will operate as Tannoy Middle East and will serve the company's Middle East market. The company has already been involved in projects in the region including the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Yas Marina Hotel and Abu Dhabi's new airport terminal.
Meanwhile, LG Electronics has opened a new regional headquarters in Dubai. The company also opened its LG Electronics Gulf offices. The increase in office space to more than 3065 square metres was a combination of factors that placed increasing importance on the growth potential of the region. The company's Middle East and Africa teams will transfer from South Korea to the new base.
However, the region still lags behind all others with the exception of Africa in total number of projects in the sector captured since 2003. Europe led the regions in total projects, followed by Asia-Pacific and then, by some distance, the Americas.
Globally, consumer electronics investments are down since reaching a peak for 2010 in July. There were 28 projects around the world in July, but that number was halved to 14 in August. In September only 11 projects were recorded. The number of jobs created by these investments has also plummeted from more than 8000 in July to only 380 in September.
Consumer electronics are defined as electronic equipment for everyday use, such as personal computers, telephones and digital music players. The Consumer Electronics Association claims that US consumer electronic sales were more than $160bn in 2009, and are on course to be even higher in 2010. It has forecast that sales in 2011 will reach more than $180bn.