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Cloud Services FDI and Regulatory Trends Privacy, electronic commerce

Author Kyu Yub Lee and Jun Hyun Eom Series 23-02 Language Korean Date 2023.10.20

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This report examines cloud services FDI and regulatory trends. We obtain 2,442 cloud services FDI projects (firm-level) from FDI Markets for the period 2016-22, and do statistical analysis using information on investment purpose, year, destination country, investment size, and industry. First, the total amount of FDI in cloud services from 2016 to 2022 is about $214 billion. The main purpose is to invest in overseas facilities to build ICT and infrastructure, and the telecommunications industry, software and IT services industry account for 98.7% of the total investment. Outward FDI between high-income countries accounts for about 62% ($132.9 billion), which rises to 85.5% ($183.9 billion) if transactions between high-income countries and upper middle-income countries are included. Lower middle-income countries invest more in high-income countries ($1.5 billion) than in lower middle-income countries ($900 million). There is no outward investment among low-income countries. Countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa regions (excluding Oceania) are the most active, with the largest share (29.3%) of outward investment between the Americas and Europe. The Americas are the leading region for outbound direct investment in cloud services (61.9% of investment), and when looking at transaction patterns between regions, investment is concentrated in Europe (35.5%), Asia (25.6%), and the Americas (24.4%).

Second, the total amount invested in the European region (43 investor countries and 37 recipient countries) is about $76 billion. Countries in the Americas have invested about $52.9 billion in the region, accounting for 69.6% of the total. The leading investor in Europe is the United States ($51.9 billion), and the top investee country in Europe is the Netherlands. The total amount invested in Asia (35 investor countries and 39 recipient countries) is about $54.9 billion. Countries in the Americas account for 58.1% of the total, with about $31.9 billion invested in the region. The leading investor in the Asia region is the United States ($31.6 billion), and the leading recipient country in the region is India. The Americas (37 investor countries and 21 recipient countries) received about $52.3 billion in investment. Countries in the Americas account for 56.9% of the total, with about $29.8 billion invested in the region. The leading investor in the Americas is the United States (almost $25 billion), while the top recipient country in the region is Canada. The Africa region (19 investor countries and 26 recipient countries) accounted for about $17.2 billion. The countries in the Americas accounted for nearly $6.8 billion in investments in the region, or 39.4% of the total. The United States is the only country in the Americas to invest in the region, while South Africa is the top investor in Africa. The Oceania region (12 investor countries and two recipient countries: Australia and New Zealand) totaled about $14 billion. Countries in the Americas have invested about $11.5 billion in the region, accounting for 81.8% of the total, with the United States accounting for about $10.8 billion. Countries in Asia invested about $1.5 billion (10.7%) and Europe invested about $900 million (6.5%) in the Americas. Korea invested a total of $5.8 billion in the United States, China, India, Africa, and a few other countries during 2016-22, accounting for about 0.3% of global cloud services investment. The United States, China, the ten ASEAN member countries, India, Singapore, and Hong Kong are the only countries that have invested in Korea. Korea's FDI in cloud services totaled $2.16 billion (1.0%), of which about $1.27 billion coming from the United States, $5.3 billion from ASEAN 10 and India, $240 million from China, and $120 million from the rest of the world.

Third, we further examine the domestic regulations of the cloud industry in key countries. Based mainly on the U.S. Trade Barriers Report (2017-23), we find that there are discernible disparities between countries in terms of data localization, restrictions on cross-border data transfers, security certifications, mandatory sourcing of domestic goods, and content control. Data localization requirements are compulsory in China, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Panama, Nigeria, France and South Korea. Restrictions on cross-border data transfers are enforced in China, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa. Mandatory sourcing of domestic products is obligatory in China and the Philippines. Security certifications are required in the EU (EUCS), France (SecNumCloud), the United States (FedRAMP), and South Korea (CSAP). Countries with content controls include Vietnam and Saudi Arabia. China and Saudi Arabia are identified as the countries with the highest number of most regulatory issues.

We hope the findings of that report will serve as a useful reference as the government reviews FDI policies and regulatory policies for cloud services, which are as important as overseas expansion of domestic cloud service providers, in the process of formulating the Fourth Basic Plan for Cloud Computing (2025-27).

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