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From Site Selection magazine, May 2014

The Global Best
to Invest Report


ite Selection is pleased to present its sixth annual Best to Invest rankings of nations and metro areas for investment-attraction activity in 2013. The national Investment Promotion Agencies and metro areas recognized here were particularly successful in 2013 at attracting capital investment projects — both expansions of existing facilities and new projects — from investors at home and abroad.

The editors welcome the participation of: (1) Amsterdam-based FDI advisory Investment Consulting Associates (ICA) and its FDI software solution, a comprehensive suite of market analysis tools and research used by corporate executives and site location experts worldwide; and (2) IBM Global Business Services and Brussels-based IBM-Plant Location International, which tracks global flows of foreign direct investment and publishes an annual Global Location Trends report.

Site Selection’s proprietary New Plant Database is the foundation of several rankings of area economic development performance each year, including The Governors Cups, Top Competitive States and Top Business Climates. Measured solely by the number of qualified projects resident in the database, China ranks first globally (excluding the United States), with 235, followed by Germany (196) and the United Kingdom (187) — see the chart below.

This illustrates the durability of the Chinese economy, even as indicators point to a slowdown in economic growth to 7.4 percent in the first quarter (still enviable in most quarters), and a possible contraction of its manufacturing sector. The latter is according to one measure so far — the HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™), which registered an eight-month low of 48.1 in March. Scores below 50 are considered to be in the contraction zone.

Such indicators are behind recent moves by the Chinese government to stimulate economic activity, including acceleration of rail infrastructure investment by 18 percent and income tax relief for smaller companies — part of a broader agenda to make capital more available to small businesses.


The bottom line, as Site Selection’s project tallies illustrate, is that China’s economy is still growing — robustly. It’s the market multinationals and many others simply need to be in, whether to supply the local market or those elsewhere. Other national Asian markets score higher according to the Best to Invest methodology. But only China claims five of the top 10 Best to Invest metros — Shanghai (1), Tianjin (3), Chongqing (4), Beijing (6) and Dalian (9). No other market comes close. Now on to the rankings.

Best to Invest Methodology

Fifty percent of the national Best to Invest rankings were based on growth in new facilities, capital investment and job creation using data from Conway Data’s New Plant database and from IBM-PLI’s database of new projects for calendar years 2012 and 2013. Each country was ranked on the total number of projects, investment and jobs created both as raw value and as a per capita value.

The other 50 percent of the ranking was based on the Location Rank and Competitiveness Score resident in’s proprietary database using these factors: business costs, economic strength, infrastructure; regulatory burden; and tax rates. Additional bonus points were given to those countries that were ranked among the top 50 destination countries by jobs created as identified in IBM’s Global Locations Trends Report.

Fifty percent of the Best to Invest metro rankings were based on growth in new facilities, capital investment and job creation using data from Conway Data’s New Plant database and from IBM-PLI’s database of new projects for calendar years 2012 and 2013.

The other 50 percent was based on the Location Rank and Competitiveness Score using’s proprietary database using these factors: economic strength and infrastructure (physical capital).

Additional points were given to those metros that ranked among the top 50 metro destinations for Foreign Direct Investment Projects as identified in IBM’s Global Location Trends report.

Site Selection congratulates the countries, national investment promotion agencies and metros recognized here for their success in attracting foreign direct investment in a global economy that remains lukewarm.

Capital investors only invest where they are confident they will earn a meaningful return, and these locations deliver that confidence.



1 Ireland IDA Ireland
2 UK UK Trade & Invest
3 Netherlands Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency
4 Germany Germany Trade & Invest
5 Finland Invest in Finland
6 France Invest In France
7 Switzerland Switzerland Global Enterprise
8 Spain Invest in Spain
9 Belgium Invest in Belgium
10 Portugal aicep Portugal Global – Trade & Investment Agency


  1. Barcelona, Spain
  2. Birmingham, United Kingdom
  3. Dublin, Ireland
  4. Madrid, Spain
  5. London, United Kingdom
  6. Vienna, Austria
  7. Erfurt, Germany
  8. Athens, Greece
  9. Limerick, Ireland
  10. Antwerp, Belgium



1 Slovak Rep. Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency
2 Czech Rep. Czechinvest
3 Hungary Hungarian Investment and Trade Agency
4 Romania Trade Romania
5 Bulgaria InvestBulgaria Agency
6 Poland Invest in Poland
7 Turkey Invest in Turkey
8 Serbia Serbia Investment & Export Promotion Agency
9 Russia National Agency for Direct Investment
10 Lithuania Invest Lithuania


  1. Budapest, Hungary
  2. Gyor, Hungary
  3. Saint Petersburg, Russia
  4. Skopje, Macedonia
  5. Moscow, Russia
  6. Wroclaw, Poland
  7. Vilnius, Lithuania
  8. Subotica, Serbia
  9. Kaunas, Lithuania
  10. Ankara, Turkey



1 Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority
2 South Africa Trade and Investment South Africa
3 United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates Free Zone
4 Egypt General Authority for Investment
5 Israel Invest in Israel
6 Bahrain Bahrain Economic Development Board
7 Nigeria Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission
8 Morocco Invest in Morocco
9 Tunisia Invest in Tunisia
10 Algeria National Agency of Investment Development


  1. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  2. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  3. Nairobi, Kenya
  4. Ogun, Nigeria
  5. King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia
  6. Rosslyn, South Africa
  7. Casablanca, Morocco
  8. Johannesburg, South Africa
  9. Lagos, Nigeria
  10. Cairo, Egypt



1 Mexico ProMexico Trade & Investment
2 Brazil ApexBrazil
3 Chile Foreign Investment Committee (CIEChile)
4 Colombia Proexport Colombia
5 Costa Rica Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency
6 Argentina Invest in Argentina
7 Peru Proinversión
8 Uruguay Uruguay XXI
9 Jamaica Jampro Trade & Investment Jamaica
10 Venezuela Venezuelan Council for Investment Promotion


  1. Sao Paulo, Brazil
  2. San Jose, Costa Rica
  3. Tijuana, Mexico
  4. Saltillo, Mexico
  5. Bogota, Colombia
  6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  7. Monterrey, Mexico
  8. Celaya, Mexico
  9. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  10. Cordoba, Argentina



1 Singapore Singapore Economic Development Board
2 Malaysia Malaysian Investment Development Authority
3 Australia Australian Trade Commission
4 Thailand Thailand Board of Investment
5 New Zealand New Zealand Trade & Enterprise
6 Hong Kong InvestHK
7 Taiwan Invest in Taiwan
8 India Invest India
9 South Korea Invest Korea
10 Philippines Invest Philippines


  1. Shanghai, China
  2. Singapore
  3. Tianjin, China
  4. Chongqing, China
  5. Jakarta, Indonesia
  6. Beijing, China
  7. Sydney, Australia
  8. Bangalore, India
  9. Dalian, China
  10. Bangkok, Thailand

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