New York retains American City of the Future title in foreign direct investment rankings

11 April 2017: In a study of the most promising investment locations in the Americas, fDi Magazine – a Financial Times publication – has named New York, fDi’s American City of the Future 2017/18.

The bright lights of New York have again outshone every other city on either American continent for the fourth time in the bi-annual foreign direct investment (FDI) ranking. The metropolis attracted 819 FDI projects between 2012 and 2016 – the highest number of all locations in this study.

São Paulo received the second highest number of inward FDI projects (470) and was the only Latin American city to rank among the Top 10 American Cities of the Future.

The biggest movement in this year’s ranking is seen among Canadian locations. Toronto has risen from sixth to fourth place, Montreal enters the top 10 at five and Vancouver has risen from eighth place in the 2015/16 ranking to take sixth place in 2017/18.

Vancouver, on Canada’s west coast, is fDi’s Large American City of the Future for 2017/18. The city tops the rankings in Economic Potential and Business Friendliness in the Large City category.

Mississauga, part of Ontario’s Greater Toronto Area, tops the ranking of fDi’s Mid-Sized American Cities of the Future 2017/18, also topping the Business Friendliness ranking in this classification.

Sunnyvale, in California’s Silicon Valley, is placed first in the Small Cities classification, and 10th in the overall ranking. The city tops the Economic Potential ranking for Small Cities, helped by its strong record for patents granted, which amounted to more than 34,000 in the decade to 2015.

Wilmington, on the banks of the Delaware River, is the leading American City of the Future in the Micro City classification. The city has the highest number of outward FDI projects per 100,000 people of all locations studied, helping it top the ranking for Micro Cities in the Economic Potential category.

The American Cities of the Future 2017/18 rankings also invited investment promotion agencies (economic development organisations to tell us about their FDI strategies where we collected surveys for a separate category – FDI Strategy. The only qualitative category in the data-driven study, this category did not feed into the overall results.

Among the top North American destinations for inward FDI, Chicago has proved its FDI Strategy is a winning one. Named first for FDI Strategy in the Major City category (see below methodology), up from third last time, World Business Chicago (WBC) has seen some major developments in recent years. The city enjoys a sister relationship with 28 cities across the world, alongside agreements with London, Mexico, Paris and Toronto, which strengthen bilateral ties and bolster trade and investment.

"Political events over the past year have cast a cloud of uncertainty over the global trade and investment landscape. As investors seek to gain clarity on any potential legislative, tax or treaty changes that could affect their supply chains and global expansion strategies, credible independent assessments of the investment environment in their cities of interest can help provide guidance. fDi's American Cities of the Future use a data-driven approach to highlight cities of all sizes across the Americas that have strong fundamentals in place to attract inward investment. We applaud all those cities that appear in our shortlists." said Courtney Fingar, editor-in-chief of fDi Magazine.

Other highlights include:

  • Most FDI attracted to New York was derived from companies from western Europe (68.6%), followed by Asia-Pacific (14.8%) and North America (6.7%).
  • The lion’s share of investment in Toronto is in sales, marketing and support and business service activities (together accounting for 72% of Toronto’s inward FDI).
  • French companies were the biggest source of Montreal’s inward FDI between 2012 and 2016, accounting for 60 projects. By comparison, companies from the US invested in 50 projects.
  • Vancouver welcomed 99 FDI projects between 2012 and 2016, nearly one-third of which was in the software and IT services sector.
  • Sunnyvale is a tech hub, with more than one-third of investment into the software and IT services sector, and over one-fifth into the communications sector.
  • Cartagena, a port city on Colombia’s north coast - Large City winner for FDI strategy - has a heavy industrial focus. Invest in Cartagena, the city’s investment promotion body, says their port infrastructure has connections to 614 ports, 140 countries and 25 shipping lines.
  • Hamilton, located 70 kilometres south-west of Toronto, is the winner for FDI Strategy in the Mid-sized City category.
  • Kingston Economic Development Corporation - Small City winner for FDI strategy -  is responsible for attracting foreign investors to Kingston, Ontario. The organisation boasts a multilingual website, which is considered to have been instrumental in attracting more than $179.6m of investment from Chinese and Portuguese investors.
  • The capital of New Brunswick, Fredericton has been named fDi Magazine’s winner for FDI Strategy in the Micro City category.


For further information please contact Jay Seenundun, on or call +44(0)20 7775 6896. The full results are available on: may have to go through a short registration process to access the page.


Notes to editors


Methodology of the rankings

To create a shortlist for fDi’s American Cities of the Future 2017/18, the fDi Intelligence division, a service from the Financial Times collected data using the specialist online tools fDi Markets and fDi Benchmark.

 In total, 421 locations were analysed for the study. Data was then collected for these 428 locations under five categories: Economic Potential, Business Friendliness, Human Capital and Lifestyle, Cost Effectiveness and Connectivity. Locations scored up to a maximum of 10 points for each datapoint, which were weighted by importance to the FDI decision-making process in order to compile both the subcategory rankings as well as the overall American Cities of the Future 2017/18 ranking.

In addition, surveys were collected under a sixth category, FDI Strategy. This category is the only qualitative category, and does not feed into the overall result. For this category there were 74 submissions. Locations submitted details about their strategy for promoting FDI, which was then scored by fDi’s judging panel.


Population categories methodology

Cities in the study were categorised according to population. Those locations with immediate city populations below 100,000 were categorised as ‘Micro’ locations, of which there were 39. ‘Small’ locations (209 locations) had immediate city populations of between 100,000 and 350,000. ‘Mid-sized’ locations (of which there were 75 locations) had an immediate city population more than 200,000 and a wider Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) of more than 750,000 people, or an immediate city population of more than 350,000 people. There were 56 ‘Large’ locations, with immediate city populations of more than 500,000 and an LUZ population of more than 1 million, or an LUZ of more than 2 million. ‘Major’ locations (49) had an immediate city population of more than 750,000 and an LUZ of more than 2 million, or an LUZ of more than 4 million people.

The list of datapoints used in the American Cities of the Future 2015/16 rankings is available on



Please state the source as fDi Magazine, from the Financial Times. The source is not the Financial Times newspaper.


About fDi Magazine

 fDi Magazine ( is a specialist publication which reports on crossborder investment and is read by senior-level executives at multinational corporations and others involved in corporate greenfield site-selection decisions.

A bi-monthly publication, fDi Magazine is part of the fDi Intelligence division of the Financial Times.


About fDi Intelligence

fDi Intelligence is the largest global FDI centre of excellence. Specialising in all areas relating to foreign direct investment and investment promotion, the full suite of services includes: location advertising to generate brand awareness; industry-leading intelligence tools to develop FDI strategies and identify potential investors; and tailored FDI events and investor roundtables to meet target companies and generate business leads.

Products within the portfolio include fDi Markets, a database tracking crossborder greenfield investment on a real-time basis; fDi Benchmark, a database which benchmarks global locations on their attractiveness to foreign investors; and fDi Magazine.

What's New

The latest announcements from fDi Intelligence, international press coverage and media contacts.

Latest fDi announcements

Jan 4th, 2017: Financial Times acquires Silicon Valley company GIS Planning

The Financial Times announces the acquisition of GIS Planning, a San Francisco-based internet technology company providing organisations with data and intelligence on foreign direct investment (FDI) and economic development in North America.

American Cities of the Future 2013/14

New York City claims the title as the top city in the Americas for inward investment attractiveness but the fast-rising São Paulo is proving a fierce competitor. Despite a 16% global decline in FDI in 2012, New York has remained the top destination for FDI into the Americas and was named fDi Magazine’s American City of the Future 2013/14. São Paulo followed closely in second and Toronto in third.

Global Free Zones of the Future 2012/13

fDi Magazine’s second global ranking of economic zones has awarded Dubai Airport Free Zone the title of Global Free Zone of the Future 2012/13.

UK tops European inward and outward FDI tables

The UK recorded an increase of 13% in FDI project numbers, capital investment in the UK increased by 48% and FDI job creation by 33%, according to a report released by fDi Intelligence. The number of FDI projects in Europe declined by 3% in 2011, with a mixed performance across countries. 

Europe displays a mixed performance in FDI

The number of FDI projects in Europe declined by 3% in 2011, with a mixed performance across countries, according to a report released by fDi Intelligence. In terms of total job creation, FDI in Russia generated the highest number of new jobs, with 89,047 jobs created in 2011 compared to 66,817 in the UK. This was despite a decline in FDI in Russia in 2011. 

Natural disasters hamper growth in Asia-Pacific FDI

China, India and Singapore attracted 2485 of the 4330 FDI projects into Asia-Pacific, according to a report released by fDiIntelligence. India was the strongest performing country with a 21% growth in FDI projects in 2011, following just 1% growth in 2010.  India and China achieved an increase in capital investment of 15% and 3% respectively.

Middle East and Africa FDI growth affected by Arab Spring

The Middle East and Africa (MEA) attracted a total of 1530 projects, according to a report released by fDi Intelligence. Capital investment was down slightly by 1% and job creation up by 3%. The top 10 countries for FDI attracted 64% of projects and capital investment, and 54% of jobs created.

California, New York, Ontario and Texas leading North American destinations for FDI

The Canadian province of Alberta and the US states of New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have posted the most impressive growth figures in FDI in a report released by fDiIntelligence. Alberta recorded a 54% growth in FDI projects in 2011, New Jersey followed closely with 53%, Massachusetts (38%) and Pennsylvania (29%).

Brazil continues to dominate FDI  in Latin America and Caribbean

Brazil dominated FDI in the Latin America and Caribbean region in 2011, attracting 491 projects – 36% of the total number in the combined region – last year, according to a report released by fDi Intelligence.


fDi in the News


15th September 2014

DAFZA is Ranked First Globally by the Financial Times' fDi Magazine

Considered the only reputed Free Zones Rankings around the globe, fDi Magazine rankings are based on several criteria such as outstanding perfor­mance, growth and expansion plans, and presence of high growth industries." Dr. Al Zarooni added "The key objective of participating in the Global Free Zones Ranking is to benchmark our performance with the world renowned Free Zones and determine our position in the Free Zones world map."


August 1st 2014

Mauritius ranks in top 5 source countries for outbound FDI in Middle East & Africa

This clearly demonstrates the success of the island economy’s efforts in positioning itself as a preferred financial hub for investments into Africa, as well as Asia. The Financial Times released the fDi Report 2014 in its fDi intelligence publication to show an overall increase in projects out of Middle East and Africa, such that FDI grew 21.81% over 2012 to reach a total of USD 48.02 billion. However, project numbers and job creation declined by 11.54% and 26.41% respectively. The UAE remained the leading country in the MEA region for outward FDI with USD 14.68 billion capital investment accounting for 30.56% market share, followed by Kuwait with USD 10.73 billion capital investment and 22.35% market share.


July 21st 2014

FDI into western Europe declined between March and May 2014

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June 11th 2014

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Washington along with her appreciation for increased investment from the U.S. as well as from Germany and Russia. Instead of having to take her word for it, the dozen attendees at a breakfast meeting at the World Trade Center Atlanta in Buckhead learned that the Financial Times Group’s fDi Magazine named Budapest, Hungary’s capital, as the most attractive Central and Eastern European city for foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2014. Wroclaw and Katowice, Poland, were ranked second and third in the category.

June 10th 2014

Financial Times’ FDi Magazine recognises Jafza the Best Free Zone in the Middle East for large multinationals

Salma Ali Saif Bin Hareb, CEO of Economic Zones World and Jafza, commenting on the fDi awards said: “We are delighted to be recognized as fDi Free Zone of the Year 2014 for “Large Tenants” – Middle East and North Africa, as well as, fDi Free Zone of the Year 2014 for “Large Tenants” – United Arab Emirates. The awards reaffirm Jafza’s unique position as the most favoured investment destination for large multinationals across the world. I attribute Jafza’s remarkable achievements to our most committed and efficient team that continues to help Jafza maintain its invincible leadership status today and the times to come.” 

June 9th 2014

DMCC Free Zone leads the way for MENA and UAE SMEs

Dubai, UAE; 9 June 2014: DMCC , the Government of Dubai Authority with a mandate to enhance Dubai's position as a global gateway for commodity trade and enterprise, has been named by fDi Magazine as Free Zone of the Year for SMEs - Middle East & Africa and Free Zone of the Year for SMEs - UAE in their Middle East Free Zones of the Year rankings and awards for 2014 / 2015.


May 29th 2014

KenInvest puts 9-month investor inflow at Sh90 billion 

It now wants the law establishing the authority's amended to compel all new foreign businesses to register with it to ensure close and timely monitoring of trends in underperforming foreign direct investments. He said it was “tricky” to track FDI inflows, a situation that has forced it to subscribe to fDi Intelligencea London based bimonthly magazine. The Magazine's data puts Kenya's FDI inflows year to date at Sh29.97 billion($341.2 million).

May 22nd 2014

Illinois falls as a destination for foreign investment

Ontario, Texas, California, Quebec and Louisiana took the top five slots for attracting "greenfield investment," or new projects or major investments by foreign investors, according to the fDi Report, an annual assessment based on the fDi Markets database of the Financial Times. The report ranked states by the amount of capital investment, rather than number of projects, as had been the case in previous years. So they are not apples-to-apples comparisons to 2012 and 2011, when Illinois was No. 8 and No. 9, respectively.

May 19th 2014

Africa’s 15 hottest investment zones

10. Tangier-Tetouan, Morocco
Tangier, a city in northern Morocco, is home to the Tangier Free Zone which was ranked in sixth position in fDi Intelligence’s Global Free Zones of the Future 2012/13. “An extended metropolitan region is growing around Tangier, which has become North Africa’s largest container port.”

11. Algiers, Algeria
Algiers is a province in Algeria and holds the country’s capital of the same name. EY ranks the area in 11th position in Africa, with a share of 1.9% of FDI projects between 2007 and 2013.

May 7th 2014

Ireland in top 10 for global FDI inflows in 2013 -- it's nothing to brag about

fDi Intelligence, a unit of the Financial Times, provides project data to UNCTAD and in respect of 2012 it put the level of new projects (in respect of existing firms and new) at 812 in the UK and 147 in Ireland. The chart here shows that jobs in FDI exporting firms in Ireland in 2013 were below the level in 2000 -- 13 years ago -- despite a 22% rise in the overall size of the workforce.

May 6th 2014

The benefits of doing business in free zones in Serbia

fDi Intelligence, the largest centre for assessing foreign direct investments worldwide, has ranked two Serbian free zones, Pirot and Zrenjanin, 41st and 48th respectively on the list of 50 most attractive zones for foreign direct investments in the world. How do free zones in Serbia operate in practice? If you ever find yourself in a free zone, this should be immediately apparent to you, as it must be clearly marked as a free zone, particularly at entrances and exits, and river-side as well, if the zone has river access.


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