Ever struggled to find reliable data, unsure of where to look or who to ask? That is a familiar issue for our Academic Liaison Librarians Sandy and Ai, who regularly field data enquiries from staff and students here at Essex.

The University of Essex Library Services provides a wide range of data (and other resources) in addition to academic books and journals. Moreover, although there are numerous high quality and open access data sources in the area of social sciences (see selected sources on the Library’s subject guides), not all data is free! This is especially the case in commercially valuable areas such as business and finance.

fDi Markets is one of the Library’s latest additions, offering a comprehensive solution for researchers and students seeking to monitor and analyse global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows.

fDi Markets logo


What is fDi Markets?

Produced by a specialist team at the Financial Times, fDi Markets is a powerful database that aims to capture all available information about FDI deals worldwide, gathered from reliable news and other sources. 

It provides granular data on individual FDI deals, including details such as the value of the deal, jobs created, investment motive, and links to original sources. This level of detail allows users to explore data at various levels, right down to local levels of geography and specific industries, both for the investor source country and the recipient country. 

A screenshot of the fDi Markets interface

With the data archive going back to 2003, it is ideal for projects looking at changes over time (time series analysis). 

Furthermore, the database offers additional qualitative data, such as investment motive, and links to the original source, making it a versatile tool for researchers across various disciplines. 

Project descriptions are also rich qualitative data, especially for those with knowledge of coding languages. 


Benefits and Opportunities

One of the great advantages of fDi Markets is its user-friendly interface, making it accessible to researchers at various levels, from undergraduate dissertations to postgraduate and academic research projects. 

The applications of the database are wide-ranging, attracting interest from researchers in fields from business and economics to government, and data science. 

A number of academic studies have used fDi Markets as a pivotal tool for collecting data on greenfield investments (for example see, Demirbag & Glaister (2010)1; Ang, Benischke & Hooi (2018)2; Chen, Cui, Li, & Rolfe (2017)3; and Witte, Burger, Ianchovichina, & Pennings (2017) 4). 

Students in Government have used fDi Markets to look at the relation between conflict/insecurity and FDI flows over time and space. Data can also be used by students for data analysis projects and researchers in Edge Hotel School can explore the data to explore investment dynamics in the hotel and tourism sectors.

Sandy sums up why fDi Markets is worth a look: 

"I'm incredibly excited that Essex subscribes to this database. It is a rich resource that has been key to the success of a variety of research projects, keeping Essex social science research at the forefront nationally and internationally. We are one of very few UK universities with a subscription, so our students and academics are fortunate to have access."


How students and staff are using fDi Markets

Ahmed, a researcher involved in the UK India Fintrade project, highlights the vital role of fDi Markets in facilitating successful international collaborations:

"We found fDi Markets to be vital in providing comprehensive foreign investment data across a variety of industries and geographic stakeholders in India and the UK. One of the critical components was its ability to map the FDI flows between a source location and destination location (country/state/city). This detailed information was of immense value as it allowed us to identify financial ecosystems which record concentrated receipt of FDI inflows."

Selman, a Ph.D. student researching establishment mode choice, adds his vote for the database:

“By accessing the platform’s comprehensive database of FDI projects and company profiles, I have been able to analyse patterns of investment across different industries and regions, shedding light on the factors influencing establishment mode decisions5 ... I have leveraged the platform to gather quantitative data on FDI flows, investment projects, and market dynamics, allowing me to conduct rigorous statistical analyses and econometric modelling to explore the determinants of establishment mode choice. Additionally, fDi Markets’ market analysis reports and insights have provided valuable context and theoretical frameworks for framing my research questions and hypotheses. Overall, fDi Markets has been an indispensable tool in my academic research, enabling me to gain deeper insights into establishment mode choice and its implications for international business strategy, economic development, and policy formulation.”

Professor Mehmet Demirbag, Deputy Dean of Essex Business School, also commented:

“I have been utilising fDi Markets for my research, specifically in examining offshore R&D investments by multinational enterprises. My work has been published in high-ranking journals (see Demirbag & Glaister, 2010), and I have several potential publications in the pipeline. fDi Markets provides an excellent opportunity for researchers exploring foreign direct investment in various sectors and institutional settings. Data from fDi Markets can be enriched by integrating it with other datasets to broaden research opportunities in areas such as market growth, employment, networking, and knowledge spillover. Depending on the research questions, different datasets can be integrated to examine these research topics”.


Exploring fDi Markets

A common perception is that extracting data is somewhat like a visit to the dentist - something you put off because it is often painful, expensive, and time-consuming! Thankfully, accessing fDi Markets is straightforward and the process of extracting data is relatively simple.

Staff and students of the University of Essex can register to use the dataset using the organisation code ESSEX, alongside your Essex email address. You will receive an email link to access the database.

Click the link, login and select the Project Database to set parameters such as source and destination geographies, industries, time periods, and specific variables required. The data can then be downloaded in Excel format for further analysis.

You can also explore the data in other ways too, through the Company Database or Trends Analysis. Find out more on fDi Markets' FAQs.

If you need any help, contact Sandy amacmi@essex.ac.uk or Ai aito@essex.ac.uk.



1Demirbag, M., & Glaister, K (2010) Factors determining offshore location choice for R&D projects: A comparative study of developed and emerging regions, Journal of Management Studies 47 (8), 1534-1560

2Ang, S. H., Benischke, M., & Hooi, A. (2018). Frequency of international expansion through high control market expansion modes and interlocked directorships. Journal of World Business, 53(4), 493–503.

3Chen, R., Cui, L., Li, S., & Rolfe, R. (2017). Acquisition or greenfield entry into Africa? Responding to institutional dynamics in an emerging continent. Global Strategy Journal, 7(2), 212–230.

4Witte, C. T., Burger, M., Ianchovichina, E., & Pennings, E. (2017). Dodging bullets: The heterogeneous effect of political violence on greenfield FDI. Journal of International Business Studies, 48(7), 862–892.

5Establishment mode is how a firm decides to implement its FDI, for example, as a joint venture with a company in the destination country, setting up a subsidiary company, a greenfield investment, or acquiring a company in the destination country.