What Is Foreign Direct Investment

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The removal of cross-border restrictions on international capital flows and the trend toward an integrated world economy has been a substantial progress over recent two decades. Hence, it has increased the growth of foreign direct investment (FDI) activity. Madura and Fox (2007) define foreign direct investment (FDI) as the investment in real assets (such as land, buildings, or even existing plants) in foreign countries. They also find that multinational corporations (MNCs) commonly capitalize on foreign business opportunities by engaging in FDI. They engage in joint ventures with foreign firms, acquire foreign firms, and form new foreign subsidiaries. These types of FDI can generate high returns when managed properly. A substantial investment is required, and thus can increase the risk to capital. It may be difficult for multinational corporations to sell the foreign project when the investment does not perform well as expected. In order to maximize the corporations’ value, it is significant for MNCs to understand the potential return and risk of FDI and analyze the potential benefits and costs before making investment decisions. 2.1.2 Motives for FDI The reason why firms locate production overseas rather than exporting from the home country or licensing production in the host country, and the reason why firms seek to extend corporate control overseas by forming multinational corporations have been developed by many scholars. Kindleberger(1969) and Hymer(1976), emphasize various market imperfections in product, factor, and capital markets as the key motivating forces to accelerate FDI. Eun and Resnick (2004) explore some key factors that are important for corporations making decisions to invest overseas. These factors include trade barriers, imperfect labor market, intangible assets, vertical integration, product life cycle and shareholder diversification services. Madura and Fox (2007) indicate that MNCs engage in foreign direct investment widely because it can improve profitability and enhance shareholder wealth. In most cases, MNCs utilize FDI to boost revenues, reduce costs, or both. Revenue-related motives include attracting new source of demand, enter profitable markets, exploit monopolistic advantages, react to trade restrictions and diversify internationally. Cost-related motives involve full benefit from economies of scale, use foreign factors, use foreign raw materials, use foreign technology and react to exchange rate movements. 2.1.3 Benefits of FDI It seems unwise to conclude that both forms of geographic diversification are likely to be equally profitable or unprofitable. Errunza and Senbet (1981, 1984) find evidence to support a positive relation between excess firm value and the firm’s extent of international diversity by using multinational firms only. Focusing on international acquisitions, Doukas and Travlos (1988) and Doukas (1995) document that US bidders gain from industrial and international diversification. Similarly, Morck and Yeung (1991, 2001) find a positive relation between international diversification and firm value. However, they show that industrial diversification and international diversification add or destroy value in the presence or absence of intangible assets. Their findings support the view that the synergistic benefits of international diversification stem from the information-based assets of the firm. Christophe and Pfeiffer (1998) and Click and Harrison (2000) find that multinational firms trade at a discount relative to domestic firms.

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