Oct 11, 2022 - Business

Houston ranks as a top city for overseas business

Illustration of a world map tearing to reveal a hundred dollar bill

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Houston ranked as the fifth best city for international investment, according to a new Financial Times study.

Why it matters: U.S. cities are constantly competing to attract foreign investors' money, per the Financial Times.

  • Houston already has strong international ties, which allows it to attract more overseas investment and continue to be a prominent business city.

Details: Houston, with its population diversity, airports, ports and established business environment, ranked fifth, following, in order, Miami, Orlando, New York and Boston.

  • The city ranked poorly in the quality-of-life section, which looked at safety, school quality and commute times.
  • Of note: Dallas finished sixth, and Plano and Austin were ranked 13th and 14th, respectively.

What they're saying: Susan Davenport, the SVP and chief economic development officer at the Greater Houston Partnership, said Houston's diversity has been key in making international connections.

By the numbers: The region has trading relationships with more than 200 countries and is home to over 1,700 foreign-owned firms, according to the GHP.

  • Houston's top trading partners include, in order, China, Mexico, Brazil, Korea and India.
  • Plus: Houston has 87 foreign consulates, two international airports that provide service to more than 70 international destinations, and four seaports that handled 230 million metric tons of foreign trade in 2020.

Yes, but: The number of foreign-owned firms selecting Houston for expansions has decreased in recent years.

  • Houston typically has 40 international companies that announce plans to expand or relocate to the region each year. But in 2021, only 26 firms selected Houston and in 2020, only 13 firms picked the city, largely due to the pandemic.

What's next: The GHP is working to attract more foreign direct investment by going on mission trips. The economic development chamber has already visited Mexico and France this year and is headed to Japan later this month.

  • Houston officials are specifically targeting industries involving clean energy, life science, advanced manufacturing and logistics, aerospace, and digital technology, according to Davenport.

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