Mexico’s Federal District state – home to Mexico City, the country's capital – has topped fDi’s first ranking of states in the country. Federal District ranked first for Human Capital and Lifestyle, Connectivity and Business Friendliness, and ranked in third place for Economic Potential. The state generated the highest level of GDP in the country, more than $330,000 at purchasing power parity, and has a population of nearly 9 million people, second only to Mexico state with 17 million.

Federal District attracted the highest number of inward FDI projects of any states in the country between 2011 and 2015, according to data from greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets. The state’s financial services sector saw the highest growth in capital expenditure from investing companies, with investment amounts dipping in 2012 before recovering and experiencing year-on-year increases from 2013 onwards, peaking in 2015 with $194.8m-worth of investments.

Federal District also recorded the highest number of outward projects of all states in the country, with 104 outward investments made between 2011 and 2015. Nearly 30% of outward investments came from communications company America Movil, which invested in a range of mobile communications and infrastructure projects throughout Latin America, including a $500m investment in Bahia, Brazil.

Some 263 patents were granted with the US Patent and Trademark Office in Mexico’s Federal District between 2003 and 2015, second only to Nuevo León, which had 333. Federal District has an innovative environment, which helped it to rank first of all states for Human Capital and Lifestyle. Ten of the universities in the 2015 Universidades de Mexico Top 50 ranking are based in the state, and it boasts more than 530,000 students, providing it with the highest student concentration of all Mexican states, at almost 6% of its population. The state attracted the highest number of investment projects between 2011 and 2015 in R&D, including recent investments from India-based Mahindra Group and US-based technology and consulting company IBM.

Nuevo León thinks big

Nuevo León, in the north-east of the country, has finished in second place in the ranking. The state has a solid reputation for attracting big investments, with 20 megaprojects (projects with capital investment more than $100m) recorded between 2011 and 2015. 

The state has an established industrial economy, and 16.3% of its FDI projects between 2011 and 2015 were in the automotive components sectors, followed by industrial machinery, equipment and tools (15%) and metals (10.6%). Switzerland-based ABB established the headquarters of its ABB Mexico subsidiary, a supplier of power and automation technologies, in Monterrey, stating that the company chose Nuevo León for its headquarters “because of its strategic, industrial cradle” status in the country, and because of its ability to attract large investments.

Querétaro, a state of more than 2 million people in central Mexico, ranked third in the ranking. The state experienced average annual GDP growth of 9.4% between 2009 and 2014, the highest rate of any state in the country. Querétaro is adept at attracting megaprojects. In November 2015, MAN Truck & Bus Mexico, which is a subsidiary of Germany-based Volkswagen, expanded its production facility in the state, creating more than 1000 jobs. 


To create a shortlist for the fDi Mexican States of the Future 2016/17 ranking, the fDi Intelligence division of the Financial Times collected data using the specialist online FDI tools – fDi Benchmark and fDi Markets as well as other sources. Data was collected for 32 locations under five categories: Economic Potential, Human Capital and Lifestyle, Cost Effectiveness, Infrastructure and Business Friendliness. Locations scored up to a maximum of 10 points for each data point, which were weighted by importance to the FDI decision-making process in order to compile both the subcategory rankings as well as the overall Mexican States of the Future 2016/17 ranking.

In addition, surveys were collected under a sixth category, FDI Strategy, for which there were 16 submissions. In this category, locations submitted details about their strategy for promoting FDI, which was then scored by fDi’s judging panel.

Click on the link below for a PDF version of the complete results: