BUS 431: Business with East Asian Countries



This short guide is focused mostly on the "Foreign Direct Investment" assignment for the course.   If it doesn't have what you need, don't hesitate to use the Help options listed below.

Good luck with your projects!



Foreign direct investment (FDI) data

Most sources for FDI data tend to be governments and intergovernmental bodies. In some cases you can go straight to the organisation's website to find free data, in others the data is in a fee-based database that the library provides.  Here are a few sources to start with: 

IMF Coordinated Direct Investment Survey
You'll probably fund the "Data by Economy" section most useful, but be sure to explore the entire site. 

Start with the Country Profiles, then go to Data Center > Investment for FDI data. Much of this data will also be in the IMF source above.

World Development Indicators
World Bank source. Offers a few different long time series on net foreign direct investment by country.

Asian Development Bank
A great source for stats and analysis of countries in the region. Start with their Data and Publications pages.

OECD iLibrary
Although Korea and Japan are the only East Asian members of the OECD, OECD data and reports often cover major  non-OECD countries. Try a quick keyword search for just FDI to get a sense of the wide range of information available in this database. Also try viewing the latest edition of the OECD International Direct Investment Statistics publication, including its many links to data on FDI inflows, outflows, and positions. Or go straight to the OECD's FDI data.

Passport provides foreign investment data for every country in the world, but doesn't provide details on which countries the investment is coming from. Start by Searching for "foreign direct investment" plus a country name.

Your target country's Ministry or Dept of Statistics or of Finance, or their Central Bank
Just as Statistics Canada tracks things like FDI for Canada, many other countries offer free data on topics such as foreign investments or Balance of Payments.  Start by finding the site of the relevant Government Statistics Office or Central Bank. Google is great for this, but I also like this old directory of government sites: Choose your country, then do a CTRL-F on the page to find government agencies whose names contain terms such as statistics/finance/bank/export/invest... then look for a link to an English language version of the site and search or browse.  Here, for example, is some recent data on FDI for Korea. via the Korea Eximbank (aka: "Export-Import Bank of Korea"), and here is the Mongolian Statistical Information Service

Our Statista database contains data from a very wide range of government, association, company, and other sources, including many charts of FDI or Foreign Direct Investment data. Be sure to always check look for a link to the original source of each data chart, then explore further. For example, the data in this chart of FDI in China originally came from the China Statistical Yearbook.

FDI overviews

Although most countries would offer some information on their government pages about how they regulate (encourage/obstruct) FDI, it's often more interesting to get an external analysis by visiting the site of another government or an intergovernmental body.

[USA] Export.gov - Country Commercial Guides
It can take a bit of digging, but Country Commercial Guides prepared by the US government do offer quite a bit of "investment climate" information for many countries. Select your target country from the list, then browse to find the discussion of their "Investment Climate." See this CCG for Mongolia as an example.

International Monetary Fund
Try searching the IMF site for FDI and your country name.  Also try "Direct investment" and your country name. Or you could just go straight to the country page and scan all the documents the IMF has for that country. And the IMF's Data Mapper tool will allow you to create beautiful charts and graphs comparing countries and regions on such measures as Direct Investment Abroad and Direct Investment in Reporting Economy.

Books: A good book (or ebook!) on a topic like this will have far deeper coverage than most reports that you might find online.  Start with searching for the Keyword -- FDI AND [your country name] -- (e.g., FDI AND Korea) but you might also want to try searching for the Subject: Investments, foreign - [your country name]. (E.g., Investments, foreign - Korea).  

To get a better idea of the sorts of ebooks and books we have on FDI, try this broad search for anything with "Investments, foreign" in the subject area.

IMD World Competitiveness Online
Provides some basic FDI data, but also several other measures of the "competitiveness" of many different countries.

Company information

I understand that for this assignment you will need to research the experiences of a specific company in your target country.  If possible, it's usually easier to do some broad research and try to find a company whose experiences in your country are well documented, rather than picking a company before you start the research.

As with the tip above, start with books.  Try the Subject: International business enterprises - [your country name](E.g., International business enterprises - China)

Also try searching for news articles in Business Source Complete and Nexis Uni (formerly: LexisNexis). In Nexis Uni, try the Business sources first. 

Our Factiva database of international company/industry/general news sources may also help.  Try a search such as:  (statistics or data or overview) and ((fdi or foreign direct investment or foreign investment) w/3 (your chosen company))  

Note: The Financial Times has a sister publication called fDi (Foreign Direct Intelligence) which often includes details on the FDI issues and initiatives of specific companies and regions.. We have access to fDi via both Nexis Uni and Factiva.  Use the this link for the Nexis Uni option, and this link for the Factiva option. It also appears to be free online, but at the moment I'm unclear on whether that access is tied to our new subscription to the complete Financial Times.

Depending on when your target company entered the country, the company's history may prove useful.  Try our International Directory of Company Histories.

Getting help

Look for an online or print guide.  Many of the databases that you will use have built-in 'help' sections (e.g., Business Source Complete and Academic Search Premier).  In addition, for general help using our catalogue or moving from citation to journal, we have many online tutorials.

Visit the librarians at our Help desk or try contacting our reference librarians via telephone, chat, or email using our Ask a Librarian services.

You are also welcome to email me (mbodnar@sfu.ca) with your questions. It makes things much more efficient if you start your email by explaining...

  • what class you are in (so I have an idea of your assignment and background);
  • when the assignment is due;
  • what exactly you are after (saying that you need "everything about Microsoft in Korea" is far too broad - saying that you need to know where to find "data on Microsoft's computer sales in Korea" is better (though not necessarily simpler!));
  • where you have you looked so far (have you tried the catalogue and Business Source Complete?);
  • and what search terms you tried when you searched.

After your search

Writing your report

Research is only half the battle! You also need to communicate your findings in a clear, well-structured paper, Check the SFU Library guides to Business Writing and Academic Writing Resources for information to help with essay structure, grammar, spelling, and more.

Help with presentations

The SFU Library has many books on creating effective business presentations and on public speaking or Powerpoint in general, including several recent titles that are available online for SFU researchers. We also have videos with public speaking tips. See our Business Presentations guide for useful resources to help you impress your audience!

Citing your sources

You also need to correctly cite all of the books, journal articles, and sites that you used in your research. Start with the SFU Library style guides (covers APA and other major styles), as well as our guide to citing Business sources using APA.  Note also that many of our article indexes (e.g., Business Source Complete) will allow you to email article citations to yourself with the citation automatically in APA format.


Learning how to properly credit others when you use their ideas is a difficult, but important part of research. Start with the SFU Library's interactive tutorial Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism to test yourself and to learn more about plagiarism. Also read the SFU Library Guide on Plagiarism for further discussion of this critical topic and for links to other plagiarism guides.