Top 25 Countries for Foreign Direct Investment by Software & IT Service Operations

by King White, on Aug 24, 2021 9:26:55 AM

Global corporate site selection strategies for software development, software engineering and IT service 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 the controlling ownership in a business enterprise in one country makes a direct investment into 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 where software development and IT service operations have rapidly expanded.

To help identify which countries have had the most success, Site Selection Group evaluated 33,537 FDI projects in 81 countries to identify the top 25 countries that had the most software and IT service operations opened by foreign companies since 2003. The following table provides a summary of the results.

Top 25 Countries for Foreign Direct Investment

Rank Country Software and IT Services 
1 UK 4,055
2 USA 3,952
3 India 2,525
4 Germany 2,277
5 France 1,719
6 Australia 1,441
7 China 1,403
8 Singapore 1,334
9 Canada 1,000
10 Spain 969
11 Ireland 864
12 Japan 763
13 UAE 757
14 Netherlands 727
15 Brazil 682
16 Hong Kong 525
17 Mexico 491
18 Poland 470
19 Switzerland 394
20 Romania 362
21 Malaysia 338
22 Italy 302
23 Denmark 289
24 South Africa 285
25 Sweden 284

Source: FDI Markets

Trending countries that did not make the top 25

There are many countries that did not make the top 25 list but have been gaining a lot of momentum in recent years. Columbia, Philippines, Vietnam, Czech Republic, Costa Rica and Bulgaria, to name a few. The tech industry sector is growing rapidly in these geographies but just doesn’t have the historic track record to break into the top 25. 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.


Software and IT services operations 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.

Topics:Site Selection GroupSite SelectionSoftware Development



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