Top 20 Countries for Foreign Direct Investment by Call Center and Back Office Operations

by King White, on Mar 24, 2016 2:16:28 PM

As countries across the world try to attract call centers and back office operations during the site selection process, foreign direct investment (FDI) has become one of the standard methods to measure the success of a country’s attractiveness.


By definition, FDI occurs when a controlling ownership in a business enterprise in one country is made by an entity based in another country. When successful, global location trends are created and economies can experience significant diversification of their industry as evidenced by countries such as India and the Philippines where the call center and back office industries have rapidly expanded.CallCenter_123788959.jpg


King White, CEO of Site Selection Group, explains, “In the global economic development game, FDI has become a leading indicator of a region’s ability to successfully attract foreign investment. India and the Philippines have been the key beneficiaries of the call center, shared service and technical support sectors due to their tremendous offshore growth over the last decade.”


To help identify which countries had the most success, Site Selection Group evaluated over 1,123 FDI projects to identify the top 20 countries that had the most call center, shared service centers and technical support centers opened by foreign companies over the last five years. The following table provides a summary of the results.


Top 20 Countries for Foreign Direct Investment


CountryCustomer Contact CentersShared Service CentersTechnical Support CenterTotal
UK 93 13 17 123
USA 65 17 15 97
Philippines 54 25 4 83
India 32 21 28 81
Poland 10 42 7 59
Ireland 16 18 22 56
Spain 18 8 12 38
Canada 33 2 1 36
China 16 6 14 36
Romania 12 7 16 35
Germany 18 1 12 31
Costa Rica 15 14 2 31
Malaysia 6 13 5 24
Brazil 16 4 2 22
Mexico 9 6 7 22
Hungary 8 7 5 20
Colombia 13 5 1 19
France 14 1 4 19
Australia 9 0 8 17
Lithuania 1 12 4 17


Emerging countries for call centers continue to surface

There are many emerging countries that continue to surface that didn’t make the top 20 list. Honduras, South Africa, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Jamaica to name a few. “Some of the less scalable labor markets, especially in nearshore Latin America countries, have won a lot of projects but not at the velocity of the major offshore regions,” White said.


The following interactive map provides a summary of all of the activity across 90 countries for the last 5 years.





The global movement of call center and back office operations across the globe is a trend that is here to stay. The ability of countries to attract these operations is driven by site selection trends, labor arbitrage, geo-political risks and the overall attractiveness of the various geographies.   


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