September 15, 2015

Chicago Leads Nation in Foreign Direct Investment According to New IBM Report

Leads the Nation for the Third Year in a Row; Chicago is Only North American City in the Top 20

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and World Business Chicago today announced that, for the third year in a row, the Chicago metropolitan area leads the nation in foreign direct investment (FDI) according to the 2015 IBM Global Location Trends report. The annual report, which outlines the latest trends in corporate location selection, also recognized that in 2014, FDI in Chicago created 4,800 jobs, the second highest number among all metro areas. The city ranked sixth in the world for the number of FDI projects, with 74.

“Chicago continues to be a city where businesses want to locate and grow, showcasing our leadership role in the global economy,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This ranking speaks to the strength of our city’s economy today, and with record growth in international tourism, ongoing corporate relocations and expansions, plus being the top metro area for foreign direct investment, we expect that growth to continue well into the future.”

Chicago is the only North American city ranked in the top 20 cities in the world, trailing only London, Paris, Singapore, Amsterdam and Shanghai in terms of the total number of FDI projects. In North America, the Chicago metro area saw more FDI projects than the next three highest cities, Montreal, Miami and Atlanta.

“With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas, cities are increasingly important economic development engines,” said Roel Spee, Global Leader IBM-Plant Location International. “Chicago’s rank as the top city in North America for number of investment projects, and the only North American city in the top 20 is indicative of the city’s position as a thriving global economic center.”

“IBM’s report reinforces that our efforts to reach international markets are making an impact,” said World Business Chicago President & CEO Jeff Malehorn. “Through Chicago’s robust international business resources and global network, we continue to build ties with our counterparts across the globe to facilitate development and bring jobs to the city.”

A hub of international business activity, Chicago is home to more than 1,800 foreign-based companies, accounting for more than $100 billion in foreign direct investment. World Business Chicago continuously works to increase foreign direct investment with initiatives including its Gateway Cities agreement with eight Chinese cities and its Global Cities Economic Partnership with Mexico City. These efforts serve as a model to enhance business relationships with other global cities to facilitate trade and foreign direct investment.

The Global Location Trend report shows where companies are locating, expanding, and creating jobs around the world. Projects must meet IBM criteria, including having more than 10 jobs, to qualify. For the complete IBM report, visit:


Chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, World Business Chicago drives regional economic growth. WBC collaborates to create jobs, cultivate talent, and put Chicago at the forefront of the global economy. A unique public-private partnership, WBC engages business and community leaders to advance Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs.