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Poland welcomed more than 1300 foreign investment projects between 2014 and 2018, with a surge in FDI between 2015 and 2017 according to greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets. Investment in the eastern European country peaked in 2017 with 343 FDI projects – a 72% increase compared with 2015. Job creation and capital investment also peaked in 2017 with almost 88,500 jobs created and $14.73bn announced.
Warsaw remains the country’s largest draw for investors, attracting more than any other Polish city between 2014 and 2018. The capital welcomed 262 FDI projects, followed by Kraków (95) and Wrocław (91). Warsaw has seen an upswing in the number of investments in sales, marketing and support and business services operations, with 22 such investments in 2014 almost doubling to 43 in 2018.
Warsaw wins again
Contributing to its success in the ranking, Warsaw performed strongly in the Economic Potential, Human Capital and Lifestyle, Connectivity and Business Friendliness categories. The capital has the highest number of higher education institutions of all Polish cities and boasts the highest number of students studying a foreign language. This makes the city ideal for shared services operations, as UK law firm Dentons confirmed when its Warsaw business services centre opened in 2016. The company attributed its investment decision to the city’s “mature shared services market” and the “multi-lingual business services workforce Warsaw is renowned for”.
More than 110 international locations can be reached directly from the city’s Warsaw Chopin Airport, less than 10 kilometres from the city centre. UK-based financial services company Standard Chartered credited the city’s good transport links, as well as the city’s talented workforce, as the reason behind its decision to open its global business services hub there in June 2018.
Kraków thinks clever
Kraków retains its second place in this year’s ranking, thanks to runners-up positions in the Economic Potential, Human Capital and Lifestyle and Business Friendliness categories. The composition of this southern Polish city’s FDI has changed over the years, moving towards more knowledge-intensive operations.
In the five-year period between 2009 and 2013, software and IT services was the largest FDI sector in Kraków, representing just over 20% of the city’s investments, followed by real estate (13.89%) and transportation (11.11%). Almost one-quarter of all investment in the city was in sales, marketing and support operations, followed by design, development and testing (16.67%) and construction (13.89%).
Between January 2014 and December 2018, Kraków’s top sector for FDI remained software and IT services, increasing its share from 20.83% in 2009 to 2013 to almost 30% in the later period. Design, development and testing projects rose from ranking second among Kraków’s business activities between 2009 and 2013 to topping the list by 2018. Almost one-quarter of all investment projects in the city between January 2014 and December 2018 were in design, development and testing.
Netherlands-based software development company Symphony Solutions established a presence in the city in November 2017, choosing Kraków for its “IT talent and great technical universities”. Of all cities analysed for the ranking, Kraków boasts the highest number of graduates on a per capita basis (almost 150 per 10,000 people), helping its second place ranking in the Human Capital and Lifestyle category.