What are Foreign Investors?

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  • Written By: Nicholas K.
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 27 August 2019
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Foreign investors are those who put money into enterprises outside of their home country. Growing businesses often look for foreign investors to boost their finances while expanding into new markets. These investments range in complexity from simple stock acquisitions to complex agreements outside of stock exchanges. Foreign investments can originate from individual investors, businesses, and governments headquartered worldwide. An investor may place money into a business to capitalize on an innovative product, existing research, or a company’s reputation. These investments may have hidden benefits including the creation of strategic partnerships and exposure of new products to foreign consumers.

The simplest action taken by a foreign investor is to purchase stock for a publicly traded company. These purchases can be sold in the future for profit or used to gain a controlling interest in a company. Foreign investors often work out private investments with businesses not listed on stock exchanges. These investments can include cash, lines of credit, and equipment to help a business during expansion. An agreement between foreign investor and business may include a predetermined rate of return on the initial investment.


Entrepreneurs can attract foreign investments by looking beyond venture capital firms and international banks. Wealthy individuals around the world may look at business start-ups as opportunities to increase their financial holdings. Foreign corporations in competitive industries ranging from automotives to food production can invest in growing businesses to expand their services. Businesses may receive investments from local and regional governments overseas that want to attract facilities to their communities. National governments also get involved in foreign investments to develop products for law enforcement, military services, and government agencies.

These different types of foreign investors all share the objective of investing in businesses that will yield the best financial returns. Businesses developing the latest products in fields like computer software and health care might produce significant returns for foreign investors. A foreign investor may also be more interested in a company’s prototypes and patents than its existing products. The positive reputation of a growing business can also attract foreign investors. An investor might feel comfortable placing money in a company with a logo, slogan, and product line familiar to consumers.

Businesses receiving foreign investments can realize benefits beyond the infusion of new money. Foreign investor may help the targeted businesses expand by funding factory expansions, machinery purchases, and new employees. An international investor may work with a business to arrange partnerships with suppliers, parts manufacturers, and distributors throughout the world. Expanding companies can open distribution centers, retail outlets, and offices in other countries with the help of foreign investors. These investors can provide guidance on regulatory restrictions, tax codes, and consumer preferences during international expansion.


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