Finland enjoyed a record-breaking year in the number of greenfield investments and acquisitions by foreign companies in 2017, with a total of 336 new international companies and acquisitions. The figure was almost 20% higher than in 2016. The biggest number of investments came from Sweden and the most popular sector targeted by foreign investment was knowledge intensive business services.
Neighbouring country Sweden was Finland's most important investor country with 95 new companies, according to Business Finland's Invest in Finland unit. Sweden also showed the biggest growth, with 15 more companies coming to Finland than in the previous year (80). Other major investor countries were Great Britain (55), United States (30), Denmark (25) and Norway (19). The number of new Chinese companies investing in Finland was 12, remaining at the same level as last year.
The most foreign-owned companies were established in the business services, health & wellbeing, and ICT sectors, which was similar to 2016. The biggest relative growth was experienced by the retail sector, with 47 new foreign companies compared to 24 in the previous year.
"According to EY's 2017 Nordics Attractiveness Report, Finland was quantitively the most interesting destination for new foreign direct investment in the Nordic countries. Finland is stable and transparent as a society and it offers companies a very interesting innovation environment in many sectors, such as the health and ICT sectors for example. Our strong ecosystems are attractive," says Antti Aumo, Head of Business Finland's Invest in Finland unit.
The number of follow-up investments by foreign companies also continued to grow. Foreign companies already operating in Finland reported about 200 expansion investments in Finland during the past year. In the previous year, there were 180 expansion investments.
There are about 4,600 international companies operating in Finland, employing almost 240,000 people. These companies benefit from Finland's top-quality business environment and world-class innovation ecosystem, including a vibrant startup scene.
"These days Finland is not only looking for international companies but also talented professionals and experts. In order to maintain our position as a technology superpower, we are attracting international professionals to help grow our existing businesses, which through growth can then also hire more local skilled staff," says Aumo.
Finland is also promoting its vibrant startup ecosystem to foreign teams by introducing the new Startup Permit. According to Family Life Index (2017) by Expat Insider Finland is where expats feel most at home.