IBM Global Location Trends report 2019

2019 Annual Report: Trade regulations and digital disruptions affect the economic outlook

Global Locations 2018

This annual report analyzes the latest trends in where companies locate their (new) operations around the world, and what drives these decisions.
The report is produced by Plant Location International (PLI), the global center of excellence in IBM Global Business Services for location strategy and economic development consulting.

Some of the key highlights from this year's report are:  

  • Global foreign investment activity showed a further decline in 2018: the number of foreign investment projects decreased by 3 percent, and the expected job creation from these projects decreased by 9%
  • United States continues to hold the top position as FDI destination country but also experienced a decline in project and job numbers
  • Chinese investment continues to increase, with China now being the main Asian outward investor (ahead of Japan for the first time)
  • Transport equipment (mainly automotive) lost its position as number 1 sector, after a considerable decline. Hospitality & Tourism (mainly hotels) is now number 1
  • UK sees a negative impact from Brexit driven uncertainty. It lost market share and sees its leading position in Europe challenged, while the type of investment into the UK is transforming towards more domestic market focused operations.
  • Paris has taken the lead from London as the global top ranking metropolitan area attracting most new investment projects.
  • Serbia extends its number 1 position as FDI destination country in jobs created per million inhabitants
  • Netherlands is number 1 by average job value of investment projects. This is the first time that this ranking is led by another country than Ireland
  • Export focused investment has decreased to 52% of global FDI (measured in Job creation). 10 years ago, this share was still 61%. Investment focused on serving a domestic market is now at 48%.

Key rankings   

Total job creation:

Job creation per capita:

Average value of jobs:

1. United States

1. Serbia

1. Netherlands

2. Mexico

2. Ireland

2. Singapore

3. India

3. Jamaica

3. Ireland

4. China

4. Lithuania

4. Finland

5. United Kingdom

5. Hungary

5. United Kingdom

6. France

6. Bosnia & Herzegovina

6. Hong Kong

7. Thailand

7. Bulgaria

7. Bulgaria

8. Vietnam

8. Costa Rica

8. South Africa

9. Poland

9. Estonia

9. Sweden

10. Germany

10. Zimbabwe

10.Czech Republic

We hope that this new Global Location Trends report provides you with valuable insights into current location decisions by companies around the world.

For more information or the full report please visit: