Global corporate site selection strategies for back office operations such as call centers, shared service centers and technical support operations continually change as companies migrate jobs onshore, nearshore and offshore. When the economy is good, companies move jobs onshore where labor quality is the best but the costs are high. However, during challenging economic times you will find many companies shifting jobs nearshore and offshore. One way to track these location trends is by foreign direct investment (FDI) data — one of the standard methods of measuring global corporate investment.
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 back office operations have rapidly expanded.
To help identify which countries have had the most success, Site Selection Group evaluated over 2,600 FDI projects in 80 countries to identify the top 20 countries that had the most call centers, shared service centers and technical support centers opened by foreign companies over the last 15 years. The following table provides a summary of the results.
Top 20 Countries for Foreign Direct Investment
|Rank||Country||Total Projects||# of Call Centers||# of Shared Services Centers||# of Technical Support Centers|
Source: FDI Markets
Trending countries that did not make the top 20
There are many countries that did not make the top 20 list but have been gaining a lot of momentum in recent years. Colombia, South Africa, Bulgaria, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Jamaica, to name a few. The back office sector is growing rapidly in these geographies but just doesn’t have the historic track record to break into the top 20. This can be a good opportunity for companies trying to find emerging or less saturated countries for expansion but these countries can often come with trade-offs such as lack of scalability or political instability.
Foreign direct investment results for the 80 countries
The following interactive map provides a summary of all call center, shared service center and technical support FDI activity across 80 countries over the last 15 years.
Source: FDI Markets
Call centers, shared service centers and technical support operations are faced with the demand for high quality talent but at a reasonable cost. As companies try to balance these demands, foreign direct investment will continue as the operations shift between onshore, nearshore and offshore geographies. FDI data is one way to help you identify these corporate site selection trends.