This paper first of all develops a theoretical model to examine a number of heterogeneous firms’ choice between making export-oriented foreign direct investments (FDI) in a host country and making FDI in another country to serve the market there. It is shown that all firms below a critical level of efficiency invest in the first country, and the other relatively more efficient firms invest in the second host country. The hypothesis is tested using firm-level data on 118,300 Japanese firms covering the entire manufacturing sector. Multinomial logit estimates strongly support our theoretical findings.