The first type of FDI is taken to gain access to specific factors of production, e.g. resources, technical knowledge, material know-how, patent or brand names, owned by a company in the host country. If such factors of production are not available in the home economy of the foreign company, and are not easy to transfer, then the foreign firm must invest locally in order to secure access.
The second type of FDI is developed by Raymond Vernon in his product cycle hypothesis. According to this model the company shall invest in order to gain access to cheaper factors of production, e.g. low-cost labour. The government of the host country may encourage this type of FDI if it is pursuing an export-oriented development strategy. Since it may provide some form of investment incentive to the foreign company, in form of subsidies, grants and tax concessions. If the government is using an import-substitution policy instead, foreign companies may only be allowed to participate in the host economy if they possess technical or managerial know-how that is not available to domestic industry. Such know-how may be transferred through licensing. It can also result in a joint venture with a local partner.
The third type of FDI involves international competitors undertaking mutual investment in one another, e.g. through cross-shareholdings or through establishment of joint venture, in order to gain access to each other’s product ranges. As a result of increased competition among similar products and R&D-induced specialization this type of FDI emerged. Both companies often find it difficult to compete in each other’s home market or in third-country markets for each other’s products. If none of the products gain the dominant advantage, the two companies can invest in each other’s area of knowledge and promote sub-product specialization in production.
The fourth type of FDI concerns the access to customers in the host country market. In this type of FDI there are not observed any underlying shift in comparative advantage either to or from the host country. Export from the companies’ home base may be impossible, e.g. certain services, or the capability to request immediate design modifications. The limited tradability of many services has been an important factor explaining the growth of FDI in these sectors.
The fifth type of FDI relates to the trade diversionary aspect of regional integration. This type occurs when there are location advantages for foreign companies in their home country but the existence of tariffs or other barriers of trade prevent the companies from exporting to the host country. The foreign companies therefore jump the barriers by establishing a local presence within the host economy in order to gain access to the local market. The local manufacturing presence need only be sufficient to circumvent the trade barriers, since the foreign company wants to maintain as much of the value-added in its home economy.
Types of FDI
Greenfield investment: direct investment in new facilities or the expansion of existing facilities. Greenfield investments are the primary target of a host nation’s promotional efforts because they create new production capacity and jobs, transfer technology and know-how, and can lead to linkages to the global marketplace. Downside of Greenfield investment is that profits from production do not feed back into the local economy, but instead to the multinational & investors home economy. This is in contrast to local industries whose profits flow back into the domestic economy to promote growth.
Mergers and Acquisition transfers of existing assets from local firms to foreign firms takes place; the primary type of FDI. Cross-border mergers occur when the assets and operation of firms from different countries are combined to establish a new legal entity.
Horizontal Foreign Direct Investment: investment in the same industry abroad as a firm operates in at home.
Vertical Foreign Direct Investment: Takes two forms:

 1) Backward vertical FDI: where an industry abroad provides inputs for a firm’s domestic production process

2) Forward vertical FDI: in which an industry abroad sells the outputs of a firm’s domestic production



Types of FDI based on the motives of the investing firm
Resource Seeking: Investments which seek to acquire factors of production that is more efficient than those obtainable in the home economy of the firm. In some cases, these resources may not be available in the home economy at all (e.g. cheap labor and natural resources). This typifies FDI into developing countries, for example seeking natural resources in the Middle East and Africa, or cheap labor in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe.
Market Seeking: Investments which aim at either penetrating new markets or maintaining existing ones.
Efficiency Seeking: Investments which firms hope will increase their efficiency by exploiting the benefits of economies of scale and scope, and also those of common ownership. It is suggested that this type of FDI comes after either resource or market seeking investments have been realized, with the expectation that it further increases the profitability of the firm. Typically, this type of FDI is mostly widely practiced between developed economies; especially those within closely integrated markets (e.g. the EU).


Govindam Business School offers you an unparallel opportunity to study at advance level, to work with in a challenging, stimulating and rewarding environment, to develop skills and competencies which will last throughout life, and most importantly, it will empower you intellectually to face the ever-evolving management world.

More Investment Types By Risk Articles