Chicago Leads Nation for Sixth Year in a Row; Rises into Top Five in the World

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that, for the sixth year in a row, Chicago leads the U.S. in foreign direct investment (FDI) according to the 2018 IBM Global Location Trends report. The annual report, which outlines the latest trends in corporate location selection, found that Chicago has risen a spot to enter the top five cities globally in foreign direct investment.

“Time and again, Chicago has proven itself as a leader in the global economy,” Mayor Emanuel said. “This report demonstrates Chicago’s strength as a city where businesses from around the world want to locate and grow, creating jobs and economic opportunities across the city. We welcome their investment and look forward to their sustained impact on our city for years to come.”

Chicago ranks first in North America in foreign direct investment and only trails London, Paris, Singapore, and Amsterdam-Rotterdam in terms of the total number of FDI projects.

“Chicago has ranked as the top city in North America for the number of significant foreign investment projects for six consecutive years,” Roel Spee, Global Leader IBM-Plant Location International said. “Along with rising this year to a top five global ranking, this reinforces Chicago’s position as a prime city for global investment.”

A hub of international business activity, Chicago is home to more than 1,800 foreign-based companies, accounting for more than $100 billion in foreign direct investment. World Business Chicago continuously works to increase foreign direct investment with initiatives including the Gateway Cities Agreement with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Global Cities Economic Partnership with Mexico City, Chicago-London City Data Alliance, and Tel Aviv-Yafo –Chicago Partnership. These efforts serve as a model to enhance economic ties with other countries and global cities to facilitate trade and foreign direct investment.

Last week Mayor Emanuel and Andrea Zopp, President and CEO of World Business Chicago, led an economic mission to China and Japan to bolster Chicago’s economic ties with both countries. While in China, the Mayor and World Business Chicago continued implementation of the Gateway Cities Agreement. In Japan, the Mayor signed the first economic partnership between the Japanese government and a city anywhere in the world.

“Our work to advance Chicago’s global economic strategy is making a strong impact throughout the city,” Zopp said. “By creating economic partnerships around the world and growing our international network, we ensure that Chicago leads on the global stage.”

The IBM Global Location Trends report shows where companies are locating, expanding, and creating jobs around the world. Projects must meet IBM criteria, including having created more than 10 jobs, to qualify.

For the complete IBM report, visit

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