Five Texas cities among best for foreign multinationals, report says

February 6, 2024

Five Texas cities have been named to the top 10 U.S. cities for foreign multinational corporations to do business, according to a 2023 report published by the Financial Times and Nikkei.

Houston took the top spot in the second-annual FT-Nikkei Investing in America report, followed by Pittsburgh. Three cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex – Plano, Irving and Dallas – hold slots three, four and five. Austin was ranked No. 7.

The publications cited Houston’s business-friendly policies, excellent logistics, affordable cost of living and community diversity as reasons for its top ranking.

“Houston’s transformation to an international hub for a growing number of multinational corporations — backed by one of the nation’s busiest international airports and global shipping ports — has helped propel the city to the top of the … rankings,” the publications said.

Miami, which took the top spot in last year’s report, dropped to No. 6. Charlotte and Greensboro, North Carolina, were ranked eighth and ninth, and Seattle rounded out the top 10.

The publications noted Texas’ “pro-business outlook,” its numerous incentive programs and the fact that it doesn’t levy a state tax on corporate or personal income. “But, while Austin’s reputation as a tech hub and Dallas’s financial services pedigree are well established, Houston has often flown below the radar,” the report said.

FT and Nikkei outlined seven categories of factors that contribute to a city’s ranking: workforce and talent, openness, business environment, foreign business needs, quality of life, investment trends and aftercare. Only cities in 50 states and Washington, D.C., with a population of above 250,000 were considered.

Because talent is a top priority for foreign investors, the FT-Nikkei ranking puts the most weight on the workforce and talent category, which includes labor market freedom and the size of the labor pool compared with unemployment rates.

Both the business environment and foreign business needs are considered second-most important for the report. The business-environment category considers the cost and ease of doing business, while the foreign business needs category looks at the city’s infrastructure and policies.

Houston’s score across these categories averaged 72/100, while Plano and Irving both scored 69/100. Dallas and Austin scored 68/100 and 67/100, respectfully.

The top 20 cities in the FT-Nikkei Investing in America report:

  1. Houston, Texas
  2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  3. Plano, Texas
  4. Irving, Texas
  5. Dallas, Texas
  6. Miami, Florida
  7. Austin, Texas
  8. Charlotte, North Carolina
  9. Greensboro, North Carolina
  10. Seattle, Washinton
  11. Boston, Massachusetts
  12. Fort Worth, Texas
  13. Orlando, Florida
  14. Raleigh, North Carolina
  15. Kansas City, Missouri
  16. Chandler, Arizona
  17. Arlington Texas
  18. Cleveland, Ohio
  19. Chicago, Illinois
  20. Durham, North Carolina

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Photo by Kevin Hernandez on Unsplash

Gracie Warhurst

Gracie Warhurst has joined Strategic Partnerships, Inc. as a writer and digital content creator for the new Government Market News portal. With a rich background in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, Warhurst has experience as editor-in-chief of a literary magazine, assistant web editor, and project manager for an AI journalism project. She also contributed as a reporter during the development of SPI's news portal. Warhurst graduated summa cum laude in December 2023 with a Bachelor's in Journalism and a certificate in creative writing, making her a valuable asset to the SPI team.

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