Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, has ranked first in the 2016/17 FDI Strategy category for Global Cities of the Future. The investment department in the city council is responsible for the promotion of the city as an investment destination, and focuses on working with, and sharing knowledge with, other agencies. The council regularly hosts colleagues from cities including Shenzhen and Munich, and staff in the council benefit from EU-funded staff exchange programmes.
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The city has entered into an agreement with the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen to encourage investment and broaden links between the cities. The council has embarked upon several bilateral trade delegations, while incubator space has been set up in Edinburgh to accommodate incoming investors from Shenzhen. A counterpart facility has been established in China to attract and facilitate investors from Edinburgh.
Free soft landing services are offered to all new investors coming into Edinburgh, which includes advice on property options, information on relocating staff and access to meeting and work spaces in the city. The Invest Edinburgh website is published in French, German, Spanish, Mandarin and Arabic, as well as its native English, while a parallel website has been created in Chinese – a further bolster to the council’s China strategy.
Hong Kong improves
Hong Kong has ranked second for FDI Strategy, with Invest Hong Kong impressing judges with its network of 30 overseas offices and its extensive reach in global markets. The city’s start-up strategy (StartmeupHK) encourages young innovative companies to use the city as a springboard for business growth. The first StartmeupHK festival was held in Hong Kong in January 2016, showcasing the city as a destination for fintech and healthtech sector investments, as well as for the Internet of Things and data analytics.
Chicago, the third most populous city in the US and a newcomer to the FDI Strategy category in this year’s ranking, has placed third. World Business Chicago (WBC), in charge of investment promotion for the city, has a staff of 42 people based in both Chicago and at the organisation’s permanent office in Shanghai. The agency is also responsible for the Sister Cities International programme, which is an investment and cultural exchange programme with 28 other global cities.
The city’s China initiative has established Chicago as the US FDI gateway for investment from Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Qingdao, Shenyang, Hangzhou, Wuhan and Chengdu. WBC’s international outlook extends further than China, with an outreach to global cities including London, Paris and Toronto, and an official economic partnership with Mexico City. A range of benefits are available to prospective investors, including state tax credits; relief from training costs; industrial growth zones with streamlined development incentives; and green incentives to encourage environmentally responsible development.