Working paper

Asia rising: emerging East Asian economies as foreign investors

30 May 2011

This paper documents and analyzes the rise of emerging East Asian economies as major international investors.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) from these economies is rising faster than their economic growth, trade, and inward FDI, and the region is by far the most important investor from the developing world. We develop an analytical interpretation of the behaviour and competitive strategies of major developing East Asian outward investors. We conclude that the drivers of this outward FDI are generally consistent with the international investment literature. But in addition particular factors are at work, including the desire for natural resource security, and exceptionally high domestic savings rates. The major challenge for the rest of the world is to accommodate these FDI flows, as part of the global reorientation of economic activity towards East Asia.

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