Foreign direct investment (FDI) or foreign investment refers to the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest (10 percent or more of voting stock) in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor. It is the sum of equity capital,other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in the balance of payments. It usually involves participation in management, joint-venture, transfer of technology and expertise. There are two types of FDI: inward foreign direct investment and outward foreign direct investment, resulting in a net FDI inflow (positive or negative) and “stock of foreign direct investment”, which is the cumulative number for a given period. Direct investment excludes investment through purchase of shares. FDI is one example of international factor movement.
Foreign direct investment in India:
Starting from a baseline of less than USD 1 billion in 1990, a recent UNCTAD survey projected India as the second most important FDI destination (after China) for transnational corporations during 2010-2012. As per the data, the sectors which attracted higher inflows were services, telecommunication, construction activities and computer software and hardware. Mauritius, Singapore, the US and the UK were among the leading sources of FDI.
FDI in 2010 was $24.2 billion, a significant decrease from both 2008 and 2009. Foreign direct investment in August dipped by about 60 per cent to aprox. USD 34 billion, the lowest in 2010 fiscal, industry department data released showed. In the first two months of 2010-11 fiscal, FDI inflow into India was at an all-time high of $7.78 billion up 77% from $4.4 billion during the corresponding period in the previous year.
The world’s largest retailer WalMart has termed India’s decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail as a “first important step” and said it will study the finer details of the new policy to determine the impact on its ability to do business in India.