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

fdi magazineDespite 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.

The Big Apple showed its mettle by winning the rankings despite both economic (Wall Street bail out) and natural (Hurricane Sandy) disasters, remaining one of the world’s top destinations for investors and attracting 1.08% of global FDI. Even in the face of Hurricane Sandy, New York managed to retain its title as the Best Major (see below for population categories) American City for Infrastructure, previously won in the 2011/12 rankings.

But a South American competitor is nipping closely at its heels. For the first time in fDi Magazine’s bi-annual rankings, the Brazilian city of São Paulo has not only entered the top 10 but it ranked second overall. São Paulo consolidates its position as a key player in the global FDI arena (it reached sixth place worldwide in 2012) and also manages to snatch the top position in economic potential from New York (which won the 2011/12 rankings), to claim the title of Best Major American City for Economic Potential. According to greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets – part of the same division of the Financial Times as fDi Magazine – FDI into the South American business metropolis has increased year on year since 2004.

Canadian cities Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver respectively ranked third, fourth and fifth overall, and performed particularly well in the attraction of knowledge-intensive FDI.

US cities made up the remainder of the top 10, with Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago and Miami ranking sixth to 10th, respectively.

In a weakened global economy, US, Brazilian and Canadian cities continue to attract the lion’s share of FDI into the Americas region. However, cities in Mexico, Colombia and Chile are offering a more competitive deal than ever to entice potential investors, and many governments and investment agencies are implementing initiatives to improve infrastructure, business regulations and financial incentives.

Other highlights include:

  • With the exception of New York, Montreal-based companies invested in more FDI projects than other city in the Americas region
  • San Francisco and Houston experienced the largest growth in FDI projects behind São Paulo and New York
  • Relative to population size, Atlanta and Miami were in the top five for attracting FDI
  • São Paulo has also been named the Latin American City of the Future 2013/14, pushing the previous winner, Santiago (Chile), into second position, and leaving fellow Brazilian metropolis Rio de Janeiro ranking third
  • Five new entrants featured in this year’s Latin American top 10 cities: Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Panama City and Montevideo
  • Colombia’s strategy to rebrand the country and build a positive international image to potential investors appears to be paying off, and FDI into Bogotá has increased year on year since 2008
  • San Jose, California, the largest city within the world-renowned Silicon Valley, was named Best Large American City for Economic Potential
  • Sunnyvale, California, is named as the Best Small City for Economic Potential again this year. Also located within the Silicon Valley area, Sunnyvale’s attraction as a destination is enhanced by the presence of global companies such as Yahoo! and Advanced Micro Devices, which are headquartered in the city
  • Boston ranked as the Best Major American City for Human Resources 2013/14
  • The coastal sea port of Seattle topped the category for best infrastructure among large cities. Home to the ninth largest port in North America in terms of container handling, Seattle continues to be a major gateway for trade with Asia

An awards ceremony will be held at the IEDC annual conference, taking place in Philadelphia on October 6 – 9, 2013.

Population categories

For the 2013/14 ranking, fDi Magazine introduced new population category parameters. To categorise cities, fDi took into account both the population of the immediate city area and that of the metropolitan area.

Major (49 cities)
The cities in this category had an immediate city population of more than 750,000 people plus a metropolitan area of more than 2 million, or a metropolitan area of more than 4 million.

Large (52 cities)
This category included those cities with an immediate city population of more than 500,000 plus a metropolitan area of more than 1 million, or a metropolitan area of more than 2 million people.

Mid-sized (80 cities)
The cities in this category had an immediate city population of more than 200,000 people plus a metropolitan area population of more than 750,000, or an immediate city population of more than 350,000 people.

Small (196 cities)
Cities categorised as small had an immediate city population of between 100,000 and 350,000.

Micro (43 cities)
Micro cities had an immediate city population of fewer than 100,000.


About the rankings

These rankings are part of fDi Magazine’s ‘Locations of the Future’ series, which aredesigned to identify the most promising destinations around the world for future inwardinvestment. Each world region is assessed over two years. To create the shortlist of ‘American Cities of the Future 2013/14’, fDi’s research team collected data using the specialist online FDI tools fDi Benchmark and fDi Markets as well as other sources. Data was collected for 422 cities under five categories: ‘Economic Potential’, ‘Human Resources’, ‘Cost-Effectiveness’, ‘Infrastructure’ and ‘Business Friendliness’. A sixth category was added: ‘FDI Strategy’. In this category, 127 cities submitted details about their current strategy for FDI promotion and this was scored by fDi’s judging panel. Cities scored up to a maximum of 10 points under each individual 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’ ranking.


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 FDI centre of excellence globally.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.

About the Financial Times

The Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business news organisations, is recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. Providing extensive news, comment and analysis, is the definitive home for business intelligence on the web, providing an essential source of news, comment, data and analysis for the global business community.