UN: Foreign direct investment largest since 2000

According to the United Nations' 2007 World Investment Report, published on 16 October, global foreign investment inflows amounted to US $1,306 billion in 2006, which is a 38 percent increase over 2005 and comes close to the record-setting $1,411 billion of 2000.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development ranked the worldâ''s top 100 non-financial TNCs by foreign assets.

Of the top 100 TNCs, 58 belonged to six industries: motor vehicles (11), petroleum (10), electrical and electronic equipment (10), pharmaceuticals (9), telecommunications (9), and electricity, gas and water services (9).

I've pulled out only that small sliver of TNCs that are in the electrical and electronic equipment industry. You can find the full table at the UNCTAD site (be warned: itâ''s a PDF, and youâ''ll find the full table on page 229).

RankingCorporationHome economyForeign affiliates
1General ElectricUnited States1184
18Siemens AGGermany877
30IBMUnited States380
39Sony CorporationJapan233
41Hewlett PackardUnited States249
44 Philips ElectronicsNetherlands337
66Hitachi LimitedJapan356
85 Matsushita Electric Industrial CompanyJapan288
87 SamsungRepublic of Korea76
92 LG Republic of Korea42

With the possible exception of Samsung, these are all huge conglomerates, and some are pretty much cradle-to-grave companies for their products. Some of the biggest names in chipsâ''like Intel, Infineon, AMD and Micronâ''who are not conglomerates are notably absent from the list.

The report estimates that the sales, value added and exports of the worldâ''s approximately 78,000 transnational corporations (TNCs) accounted for 10 percent of world GDP and one-third of world exports.

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