Vancouver places fifth in American Cities of the Future 2013/14

Friday, April 12th, 2013

New York City has once again claimed the title as the top city in the Americas for attractiveness for inward investment, but the fast-rising São Paulo is proving a fierce competitor.

Uncertainty characterises the current global economic climate. With a 16% decline in FDI in 2012, investment agencies are facing greater competition to attract FDI projects. Yet New York has remained a top global destination for FDI, and was named as fDi Magazine’s American Cities of the Future 2013/14, with São Paulo coming in second and Toronto in third.

New York, the global hub of international business and commerce, grabbed the title for the second time in a row. Despite a knock or two, the city has continued to show its strength in surviving disasters both economic (Wall Street bail out) and natural (Hurricane Sandy). The city remains one of the world’s top destinations for investors, attracting 1.08% of global FDI. The total number of FDI projects into New York increased in 2012 with figures up 10.4% on the previous year.

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, just ahead of Toronto. São Paulo is a key player in the global FDI arena, reaching sixth place worldwide in 2012, and attracting 1.19% of FDI projects. FDI into the city has increased year on year since 2004, according to greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets, which is part of the same division of the Financial Times as fDi Magazine, fDi Intelligence.

Canadian cities Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively, and performed particularly well in the attraction of knowledge-intensive FDI. All three locations were among the top 20 key destination and source cities for FDI. With the exception of New York, Montreal-based companies invested in more FDI projects than other city in the Americas region.

A sound financial system, relatively low corporation tax rates and an open and affluent economy have resulted in Canadian cities dominating the category for business friendliness across all city sizes. However, a high concentration of top global companies, top world banks and continued expansion of existing FDI activities have helped New York win the award of Best Major American City for Business Friendliness 2013/14. Of the Financial Times’ Global 500 companies, 25 were headquartered in New York, along with 14 of the world’s top 1000 banks, according to The Banker magazine’s annual ranking.

Coming in second, Toronto’s business-friendly environment is encapsulated in Invest Toronto’s American Cities of the Future submission, which states: “When stable, transparent financial and regulatory systems combine with a society that enjoys some of the most advanced freedoms in the world, it creates an environment for success.” Placed in third, Montreal’s success lies in retaining and developing relationships with existing investments – data from fDi Markets shows that one in five FDI projects since 2003 were expansions.

With virtually no restrictions on foreign investment, low corporation tax rates and high levels of economic freedom, Santiago in Chile was ranked the fourth most business-friendly city across the Americas region, and the top in Latin America among major cities. Santiago utilises this advantage to encourage potential investors, as is evident in its American Cities of the Future submission: “Santiago is viewed today as a haven for foreign capital in times of crisis due to its characteristics: security and transparency, as well as its competitiveness and excellent business projections.”

Canadian cities were awarded top positions for business friendliness in various city size categories: Vancouver ranked top of the large cities, with Mississauga top of the mid-sized cities. Victoria came top among small cities, and Waterloo was positioned just ahead of Delta in the micro cities.

Source: Jacqueline Walls, FDI Intelligence

Vancouver comes in at no.3 in the world’s most liveable places

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Three Canadian cities have again cracked the top five on a ranking of the world’s most liveable places.

In the latest report from the Economist Intelligence Unit released Tuesday, Vancouver ranked third, followed by Toronto and Calgary in fourth and fifth respectively.

The Canadian cities were bested only by Vienna in second and Melbourne, which topped The Economist’s Liveability Ranking.

The annual survey of 140 cities uses more than 30 factors to gauge the state of healthcare, education, infrastructure, stability, culture and environment — rendering a score out of 100.

Vancouver lost marks only for petty crime rates, availability of quality housing and congested road networks, with report authors citing a series of infrastructure projects such as the new Evergreen transit line “that will no doubt have a long-term benefit, but in the short-term they can be disruptive.”

Toronto received a “Tolerable” rating (as opposed to Acceptable) for roads, public transit and housing while Calgary waned in temperature ratings.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi mused that his city’s spot on the ranking proves a “thriving business community, and a vibrant cultural scene that is attracting people from around the world” ­— echoing comments from Stephen Harper’s speech at the Stampede last month when the Prime Minister declared the Alberta metropolis as the greatest city in Canada.

The only other Canadian city to make the Economist list was Montreal in the 16th position.

Australia was the only country to outperform Canada, posting four cities in the top 10. The authors say the trend among the most liveable cities shows a preference for “mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density.” Canada’s density is 3.40 people per square kilometre, while Australia’s is 2.88.

The results vary little from the last ranking released six months ago, with Vancouver maintaining the third spot after slipping from first place in 2011.

Most of the top-tier countries are separated by fractions of a percentage — the first-ranked Melbourne is scored 97.5, only 1.8 points higher than 10th-place Auckland, N.Z. The Economist Information Unit uses the ranking to provide suggestions on how businesses should compensate employees working abroad in cities “where living conditions are particularly difficult.”

It’s one of several studies of its kind, but economic development experts in the listed Canadian cities say The Economist report’s catering to business communities could lead to tangible benefits.

“It’s certainly circulated to an audience of potential investors and investors that may be interested in relocating to our city,” said Randy McLean, a strategy director at the City of Toronto, adding good scores in categories like education will help attract top management talent and their families.

Source: Jake Edmiston, National Post

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