October 21, 2008 12:00 ET

IBM Study Reveals Global Location Trends

Companies Expand Global Footprints; Significant Foreign Investment Increases in Africa and Latin America

ARMONK, NY--(Marketwire - October 21, 2008) - IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the results of its annual Global Location Trends study which reveals that multinational companies are increasingly widening their investments to include a number of emerging countries, with notable increases in Latin America and Africa.

The study, conducted by IBM's Plant Location International-Global Location Strategies service, was released today at the annual conference of the International Economic Development Council in Atlanta, GA. The study's findings reveal that Africa and Latin America together received approximately 17 percent of the global jobs created from foreign investment and expansion projects in 2007, compared to 13 percent in 2006.

Africa in particular saw considerable growth in jobs created from foreign investment, primarily in South Africa and in Morocco and Egypt in North Africa. The continent's share of worldwide job creation from foreign investment increased to 5 percent in 2007 from a little over 3.5 percent in 2006. In Latin America, job creation from foreign investment increased by almost 6 percent compared to 2006, with the continent receiving almost 12 percent of global jobs created through foreign investment.

Within the different geographic regions, many economically emerging countries are becoming serious contenders for investment. Southeast Europe and Serbia in particular have become new major recipients of investment, as these locations increasingly are seen as alternatives to traditional Eastern European "hot spots." An analysis of jobs created from foreign investment compared to population size reveals that Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia are all ranked in the top 10 globally.

"There has been a significant amount of investment going to a range of locations that were previously 'off the map' for foreign investment projects," said Roel Spee, global location strategies leader, IBM Global Business Services. "This is a testament to the focus emerging markets have placed on building out their infrastructure to spur economic development and growth, and represents the next evolutionary step of globalization."

The widening of investment activity also is evidenced by the fact that the top 15 countries receiving jobs from foreign investment projects are receiving less than 70 percent of global jobs created, compared to 73 percent in 2006 and 85 percent in 2005.

Top-ranked sectors

Overall, the top-ranked sector in which jobs are being created through foreign investment is transport equipment (mainly automotive and aerospace), with 200,000 jobs globally. The US was a leading investment destination for this sector with almost 22,000 new jobs, second only to Mexico with nearly 26,000 jobs. Electronics with 190,000 jobs, and Information Communications Technology with 180,000 jobs, were the second and third ranking sectors globally.

The renewable energy sector is also quickly developing into an industry of importance. Notably the solar energy sub-sector is quickly developing into a very powerful engine for economic development in multiple regions around the world, with almost 15,000 jobs created from the foreign projects announced during 2007.

Additional findings:

  • The US remains the leading economy for job creation around the world, with US headquartered companies responsible for 25 percent of the 1.2 million jobs created through foreign investment in 2007; Japan and Germany follow with 12 and 11 percent respectively.

  • India and China gradually have increased their role as job generating economies -- combined they are responsible for 6.5 percent of the jobs, created through foreign investment in 2007, compared to 3.7 percent in 2006.

  • Indian companies focus their job creation mostly on China and the US, whereas Chinese companies show a wide distribution of their global investment activity.


The Global Location Trends report is derived from the IBM Global Investment Locations Database (GILD), which is a unique database of IBM's Global Location Strategies unit Plant Location International. The GILD records investment project announcements around the world on an ongoing basis, with the objective to monitor the location decisions that corporate executives are making. It monitors corporate investments at the project level. GILD records announcements of new and expansion projects by companies globally. Mergers & Acquisitions and other forms of investment are not included, unless they lead to a new or expansion project.

IBM's Strategy & Change service line, part of IBM Global Business Services, uses GILD to inform corporate investor clients where recent investment is going, and to provide key input for identifying location options. GILD allows a very detailed analysis of recent investment trends by geography, sub-sector and activity.

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