Ireland is the number one destination in the world for foreign direct investment by US tech companies according to a new analysis.

The study carried out by Wolfgang Digital on behalf of Smart MBS, found $54 billion was in invested here in 2017 by American technology businesses – equivalent to the GDP of Croatia and Belarus.

The report found the return on investment proves this was an extremely worthwhile business decision, with a combined income across the companies of $6.4 billion, 28% higher than the next best country.

The US technology companies averaged a return of 11.7% from their business expansion investment in Ireland.

Other countries to benefit from US tech investment include the UK in second place with $51.1 billion and the Netherlands in third with a much lower $33.8 billion.

But technology wasn’t the biggest industry here to reap the reward of US FDI investment.

It only came fifth among all sectors and was worth just 5% of overall foreign direct investment in Ireland in 2017.

And Ireland isn’t the only country to benefit, with the report placing the state fifth in the world for overall US investment across all business sectors, amounting to $446 billion.

The authors say the main reasons for Ireland’s attractiveness to US tech investors are the long established sector, the young highly qualified workforce, EU membership and R&D incentives and the low corporate tax rate.

The data used in the study was extrapolated from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis Direct Investment by Country and Industry series.