FDI- Foreign Direct Investment refers to international investment in which the investor obtains a lasting interest in an enterprise in another country.

Most concretely, it may take the form of buying or constructing a factory in a foreign country or adding improvements to such a facility, in the form of property, plants, or equipment.

FDI is calculated to include all kinds of capital contributions, such as the purchases of stocks, as well as the reinvestment of earnings by a wholly owned company incorporated abroad (subsidiary), and the lending of funds to a foreign subsidiary or branch. The reinvestment of earnings and transfer of assets between a parent company and its subsidiary often constitutes a significant part of FDI calculations.

FDI is more difficult to pull out or sell off. Consequently, direct investors may be more committed to managing their international investments, and less likely to pull out at the first sign of trouble.

On the other hand, FPI (Foreign Portfolio Investment) represents passive holdings of securities such as foreign stocks, bonds, or other financial assets, none of which entails active management or control of the securities' issuer by the investor.

Unlike FDI, it is very easy to sell off the securities and pull out the foreign portfolio investment. Hence, FPI can be much more volatile than FDI. For a country on the rise, FPI can bring about rapid development, helping an emerging economy move quickly to take advantage of economic opportunity, creating many new jobs and significant wealth. However, when a country's economic situation takes a downturn, sometimes just by failing to meet the expectations of international investors, the large flow of money into a country can turn into a stampede away from it.

Comparison chart

FDI versus FPI comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartFDIFPI
Management Projects are efficiently managed Projects are less efficiently managed
Involvement - direct or indirect Involved in management and ownership control; long-term interest No active involvement in management. Investment instruments that are more easily traded, less permanent and do not represent a controlling stake in an enterprise.
Sell off It is more difficult to sell off or pull out. It is fairly easy to sell securities and pull out because they are liquid.
Comes from Tends to be undertaken by Multinational organisations Comes from more diverse sources e.g.a small company's pension fund or through mutual funds held by individuals; investment via equity instruments (stocks) or debt (bonds) of a foreign enterprise.
What is invested Involves the transfer of non-financial assets e.g.technology and intellectual capital, in addition to financial assets. Only investment of financial assets.
Stands for Foreign Direct Investment Foreign Portfolio Investment
Volatility Having smaller in net inflows Having larger net inflows

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