The second commonality mentioned is usually taken to be the more important defining feature of the two. FDI denotes a degree of direct ownership whereas indirect investments are those gaining exposure to enterprises without investing directly such as listed securities, investment funds and derivatives. (Blomstrom and Globerman, 2001)
Previously, FDIs referred only to physical investments made by a local company to a foreign setting. Building factories, providing machineries and equipment were considered as FDIs while portfolio investments were considered as an indirect investment. However, the rapid globalization of markets served as an impetus to broaden the definition of FDI to include the lasting ownership of shares of companies and enterprises. As such, joint ventures, alliances where a company provides technological support and licensing of intellectual property and direct acquisition of a firm are now considered to be FDIs. (Sullivan and Sheffrin, 2003)
The current requirement is that an international business relationship must be formed between the local entity and the foreign affiliate. Foreign Direct Investors can either be a private or a public entity and may involve an incorporated or unincorporated organization or a lone individual. In any case, the foreign entity should provide the local entity a certain level of control in its management. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), control can come in the form of a 10% ownership as a minimum. In cases where this are not present, the investment made is known as portfolio investment. The ownership implies that the investor is afforded control in the management and decision-making of the enterprise. However, the data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Economic Development indicate that there are countries where the 10% ownership is treated in a flexible manner to accommodate local legal and business environment circumstances. There are cases where the ownership is less than 10% but the investor is afforded an effective voice and there are cases where exercise of influence control is not given even if the investor exceeds 10% ownership.
According to UNCTAD (2007), FDIs are classified according to certain defined factors. A classification based on the direction of FDI generates two broad types: outward-bound and inward-bound. Outward-bound FDIs are those investments provided by local entities to foreign partners while inward-bound FDIs have local entities as the beneficiary of investments from abroad. FDIs can also be classified according to the nature it is conducted. Vertical Foreign Direct Investments exist when a local entity owns some shares in a foreign enterprise and is using the business arrangement to either generate supplies or be the one supplying. Horizontal Foreign Direct Investment occurs when a local entity, usually a multinational company, establishes a similar business operation in foreign settings.
FDIs can also be classified according to its motives. If the FDI was made to explore new opportunities in new markets or strengthen the existing market structure, we have a 'market-seeking FDI'. When the FDI was made because the foreign setting provides resources that are not locally available at the same degree,