Inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) doubled from $22 billion in 2013 to $46 billion in 2016. The initial spurt was led by digital economy, which accounted for much of the incremental FDI over the first two years—2014 and 2015. This appetite has waned and the incremental inflows are now increasing in physical economy sectors like construction, electrical equipment, machinery, metallurgical industries and power.
A study by HSBC finds that while the percentage of total FDI in digital economy increased 108% in FY14, it contracted 5% in FY16. In contrast, physical economy recovered from (-) 8% in 2013-14 to 49% in FY16.
But the digital economy comprising e-commerce, outsourcing, telecom and wholesale cash and carry is undergoing consolidation and fresh investment is drying up. Incredible discounts that were once an everyday affair have disappeared and smaller ventures are being bought over by the larger players in consolidated deals.