There are four different types of foreign investment. These are Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI), official flows, and commercial loans. These types of foreign investment differ primarily in who gives the loan and how engaged the investor is with the receiver of the loan.
FDIs occur when a company invests in a business that is located in another country. In order for a private foreign investment to be considered an FDI, the company that is investing must have no less than 10% of the shares belonging to the foreign company. In these international business relationships, the company that is investing is known as the parent company, whereas the foreign company is known as a subsidiary of the parent company. Multinational corporations, which spread among several nations, often begin with FDIs.
FPIs also occur when foreign investments are made by a company. They may also be made by an individual who has mutual funds. Whereas an FDI allows the investing company to own shares of the subsidiary company, an FPI may be more temporary. Investment instruments, such as stocks and bonds, are normally traded in FPIs. Stocks and bonds are examples of investments that are easily traded. A company that has stocks and bonds from a foreign company does not necessarily have a share in that company in which it is investing.
The foreign investment known as official flow occurs between nations instead of between companies. In cases of official flow, a more developed or economically prosperous nation will invest money in a nation that is less developed. A recipient nation of an official flow investment will typically receive financial support, as well as higher grade technology and aid in government and economic management.
A commercial loan is a type of foreign investment that normally occurs in the form of a bank loan. This kind of investment may occur between nations or between businesses that are in different countries. While a commercial loan may be made by an individual, it would normally occur between a larger organizations.
Commercial loans were the most common kind of foreign investment until the 1980s, especially in cases in which investments were going to the companies and governments of economically developing countries. Since then, FPIs and FDIs have been much more common. The term globalization is normally used to describe the phenomenon of an increased use of FPIs and FDIs. Whereas commercial loans are issued by banks and backed by a government, FPIs and FDIs are private investments.