FDI and Foreign Business Activity Trends

This report [i] analyzes and evaluates foreign business activity in New Hampshire from 2001 to 2018. Activities recorded for foreign businesses in the state are categorized as follows:

  • Leadership or human capital investments or interventions
  • Research and development (R&D) and innovation
  • Product development and product development issues affecting New Hampshire business
  • Direct expansion activities
  • Contract-based expansion

Leadership or human capital investments or interventions are not prevalent. A few foreign companies from various countries and operating in various industries have been engaged in such activities in the last few years.

Foreign companies in New Hampshire have pursued product development through the decades. Research and development and innovation have been key activities of foreign businesses. About half of such activities in the state have represented spillover effects from R&D outside the state or outside the country. Innovations developed overseas and out-of-state have been used in local foreign operations or have been integrated with R&D in New Hampshire. Foreign firms have partnered at times to develop overseas innovation that has been assimilated in their operations in the state.

Expansion activities have been significant. Most expansion occurred via acquisitions of local and other foreign companies’ subsidiaries. Acquisitions of New Hampshire foreign subsidiaries represent about one third when compared to the total number of acquisitions. For some foreign companies, expanding to New Hampshire has been an outcome of a larger acquisition of a US-based firm. Proportionally to all acquisitions, these larger acquisitions were just over 10%. New Hampshire foreign companies have also invested or re-invested in their local operations in the last two decades.

Acquisitions and contract-based expansion activities have been about equal in intensity. Since 2001, foreign companies have entered contracts to sell, distribute and manufacture in New Hampshire. Manufacturing contracts have been in minority. Most agreements involved contracts and partnerships to access the New Hampshire market.

The 2000s are about foreign companies’ expansion in NH

In the 2000s, the foreign business activity focused on expansion. This included mainly foreign companies’ expansion via acquisitions in the state (of local, domestic and other foreign companies’ affiliates). Some expansionary effects into New Hampshire have been the results of a foreign firm acquiring a US company with subsidiaries in various states, including New Hampshire. In one case, the expansion occurred via acquisition of another local foreign subsidiary, which was part of acquiring a foreign parent company. In a few instances, a foreign company gained more operations in the state by acquiring another firm’s local foreign subsidiary. One company’s expansion in New Hampshire involved a partnership with a US company.

Partnerships play an important role in how foreign firms engage in the state’s business activities. This includes foreign company expansion via partnership with another foreign company that was already here and planned expansion through greenfield investment in partnership with a local company. Partnerships are also reflected in a US company entering a partnership with a New Hampshire foreign firm in order to expand distribution into the state. In addition to expanding, foreign companies already in the state have been partnering with companies overseas for alliances that influence their local operations or provide for overseas distribution and new development opportunities.

In some cases, a foreign company’s expansion in the US affected positively or strengthened its operations in New Hampshire. Some of these companies received incentives that had a positive impact on their expansion to or into the state. While most of the foreign firms’ expansion in New Hampshire took place through acquisitions, it is important to reiterate that some growth occurred via additional investments to current operations and greenfield investments, either on their own or in partnerships with local companies.

Foreign firms have increased their foothold in New Hampshire by intensifying distribution in the state. They also have been the vehicle for other companies’ distribution efforts. At the opposite end of business activities involving foreign companies in the state, local companies and US companies have purchased some foreign subsidiaries in New Hampshire during this time interval.

 The 2010s see an increase in innovation activities

In the 2010s the FDI and foreign business activities in New Hampshire have amplified. Expansion efforts have continued to be strong, with similar avenues as in the previous decade. Foreign companies also expanded in the state through contracts to sell here or contracts involving manufacturing in the state.

Notably, since 2010, foreign firms have pursued a variety of innovation activities.  These have included mostly research and development (R&D) in the state, but also product development, sometimes in partnership with other foreign companies or with US companies. Some R&D and innovation developed in New Hampshire have been used in overseas operations.  The state benefited from innovation inflows from R&D overseas affecting or integrating with local R&D. In one case, a foreign firm’s innovation in the US has made a difference in the distribution of the company’s products in New Hampshire. Also related to innovation, foreign firms have sought and obtained New Hampshire certification for their technology. The certification allowed firms to use or transfer technology or innovation in the state and internationally.