Foreign Direct Investment - FDI

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What is a 'Foreign Direct Investment - FDI'

A foreign direct investment (FDI) is an investment made by a company or entity based in one country, into a company or entity based in another country. Foreign direct investments differ substantially from indirect investments such as portfolio flows, wherein overseas institutions invest in equities listed on a nation's stock exchange. Entities making direct investments typically have a significant degree of influence and control over the company into which the investment is made. Open economies with skilled workforces and good growth prospects tend to attract larger amounts of foreign direct investment than closed, highly regulated economies.

BREAKING DOWN 'Foreign Direct Investment - FDI'

The investing company may make its overseas investment in a number of ways - either by setting up a subsidiary or associate company in the foreign country, by acquiring shares of an overseas company, or through a merger or joint venture.

The accepted threshold for a foreign direct investment relationship, as defined by the OECD, is 10%. That is, the foreign investor must own at least 10% or more of the voting stock or ordinary shares of the investee company.

An example of foreign direct investment would be an American company taking a majority stake in a company in China. Another example would be a Canadian company setting up a joint venture to develop a mineral deposit in Chile.

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