Asia's Growing Clout: Now the World's Largest Source of Outbound Investment

Asian companies* are investing more across borders than ever before and investment from the continent jumped by a third in 2014, making Asia the largest outbound investing region by volume, beating out traditional behemoths such as North America and Europe.

FDI outflows by region (US$ Billions), 2012-2014

Source: UNCTAD Global Investment Trends Monitor, May 18, 2015

Developing Asia invested $440 billion in 2014, compared with $390 billion from North America and $286 billion from Europe. Asia overtook competing regions with a significant jump of $111 billion in investment in 2014, an increase of 34% compared with 2013, according to UNCTAD's latest Global Investment Trends Monitor.

Hong Kong companies led the charge, accounting for $150 billion in 2014 - compared with $92 billion in 2013 - driven by Cheung Kong's $2.4 billion purchase of Envestraa, and HKT Group's $1.8 billion purchase of CSL New World Mobility.

Mainland China companies also accounted for a significant share of the outflow. UNCTAD reported $116 billion in outbound investment by Chinese companies in 2014, compared with $101 billion in 2013.

Singapore also featured strongly, accounting for $41 billion in outbound investment, with Temasek Holdings, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, featuring prominently.

Notably, Indian compaies turned bullish, with $12 billion in FDI in 2014, compared with a paltry $2 billion in 2013.

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