Greenfield FDI in the United Kingdom over the past two decades have shown noteworthy trends when comparing its performance with selected countries. The data, sourced from the Financial Times fDi markets database (as of November 15, 2023), sheds light on capital expenditure and job creation in various sectors. Over the last 20 years, the United Kingdom has emerged as a significant player in the global Greenfield FDI landscape. With a capital expenditure of £720 billion, it secures the third position, trailing only China (£1,302 billion) and the United States (£1,095 billion). Impressively, in 2021 and 2022, the UK surpassed China to become the second-highest destination for FDI globally. Notably, the UK’s cumulative Greenfield FDI outpaces the combined total of Germany (£305 billion) and France (£205 billion), positioning the UK as a formidable contender in attracting foreign investments. 

Figure 1: Greenfield FDI capital expenditure 2003-22 in selected countries
(Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/overview-of-greenfield-foreign-direct-investment/overview-of-greenfield-foreign-direct-investment-fdi#global-greenfield-fdi-capital-expenditure-trends)

 

Jobs

The UK has created 1.5 million Greenfield FDI jobs between 2003 and 2022, securing the eighth position globally. Remarkably, in 2022, the UK achieved a record high of 107,000 FDI jobs, outperforming Germany and France combined. 

Renewable Sector FDI: 

In the renewable sector, the UK has emerged as a leader, surpassing the combined investments of the US, Germany, France, India, and China. Both in terms of capital expenditure and job creation, the UK stands out as the preferred destination for foreign investors in the renewables sector. 

Financial Services FDI 

While China leads in financial services (FS) capital expenditure, the UK holds the fourth position in both FS capital expenditure and FDI jobs. The UK remains an attractive hub for financial services investments, securing its position globally. 

Automotive Sector FDI: 

China dominates the automotive sector in both capital expenditure and job creation. The UK ranks ninth in Automotive FDI capital expenditure and 14th in jobs. Despite a relatively lower position, the UK remains a notable player in the global automotive landscape. 

Transportation and Warehousing FDI: 

China leads in transportation and warehousing FDI, with the UK securing the second position in capital expenditure and third in job creation. Over the last three years, the UK has consistently topped the sector in both capital expenditure and job creation. 

The UK’s performance in attracting Greenfield FDI over the last two decades underscores its economic resilience and attractiveness to foreign investors. With robust capital expenditure and job creation across diverse sectors, the UK remains a global leader in the FDI landscape. As the world economy continues to evolve, understanding and leveraging these trends will be crucial for policymakers and businesses alike. 

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