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International Business Month: Houston Continues to Draw Business and Investment from Around the World 

Published May 13, 2021 by Javier Vargas

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Houston is a great global city with one of the youngest, fastest growing, and most diverse populations anywhere in the world. This unique convergence of people and cultures has created a sense of shared community, commitment and mutual respect that is important to international companies eager to do business in the U.S. In fact, Houston ranks among the top 20 Global Cities of the Future according to a recent report by fDi Intelligence. 

In recognition of World Trade Month, the Partnership is hosting International Business Month — a celebration of Houston's thriving international ties and our position as one of today's great global cities. Learn more about upcoming events happening throughout May. 

From a business perspective, the Greater Houston region is an economic powerhouse. Over the years our economy has diversified to include leading positions across key global industries like energy, life sciences, manufacturing, logistics, and aerospace. 

Houston’s economy is also deeply tied to global trade and foreign investment. The region has trading relationships with more than 200 countries and is home to over 1,700 foreign-owned firms. 

The region’s significant infrastructure—including our ports and two international airports—along with our prime geographic location, large and diverse workforce and pro-business environment have long made us an attractive target for foreign investment. 

Since 2009, nearly 500 foreign-owned firms have announced nearly 700 projects in Houston. That represents an estimated investment of more than $36 billion in the Greater Houston region.  

Last year alone, the Partnership’s International Investment and Trade team assisted in several notable expansion projects including: 

  • Borealis, an Austria-based chemicals company, established their North American headquarters in Houston.
  • Majority, a Swedish digital financial services company, announced the location of its U.S. headquarters in Houston.
  • Roboze, an Italian 3D printer manufacturer, announced Houston as the location for their U.S. headquarters supporting logistics, sales and service operations.
  • Transbiaga, a Spanish company that supports the assembly of steel and concrete windfarms, announced the location of its U.S. headquarters in Houston.
  • United Imaging, a global leader in advanced medical imaging and radiotherapy equipment, opened a 91,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art factory and expanded service complex in Houston to support its expansion across the Americas and beyond.

Despite travel restrictions, the Partnership continued to host key visits with our partners around the globe virtually. The organization welcomed 86 inbound delegations from 28 countries in 2020 to further grow the region’s international ties. 

The Partnership also leads trade and investment missions alongside civic and business leaders to key markets domestically and abroad. Over the last few years, the organization has led notable trips to Mexico, China, India, Japan, and Israel.

To support the region’s large and growing international business community, Houston is home to 15 foreign governments trade and commercial offices, 41 active foreign chambers of commerce, and the third largest concentration of consular corps in the nation. 

To learn more about international business in Houston, click here. 
 

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Economic Development

Houston Home to 24 Fortune 500 Companies, 3rd Highest Concentration in the U.S.

6/8/21
Bolstered by the recent headquarters relocations of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and NRG Energy, Houston now has the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the nation, according to the publication’s latest report. Twenty-four companies headquartered in the Houston metro area are ranked on the 2021 Fortune 500 list. Houston is now behind only New York with 64 Fortune 500 firms and Chicago with 35. Dallas ranks fourth with 22 companies.  Houston added four companies to its Fortune 500 roster this year: Academy Sports & Outdoors, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, KBR (moved from No. 501 to No. 470), and NRG Energy. Academy Sports & Outdoors went public in October 2020 and is new to the Fortune ranking. Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced in November that it would relocate its headquarters to Houston and NRG made a similar announcement in May 2021.  Last year, there were 22 Houston area companies on the Fortune 500 list. The biggest movers from 2020 to 2021 are KBR (up to No. 470 from No. 501), Crown Castle International (up to No. 467 from No. 496), and Waste Management (up to No. 202 from No. 207).  “We often talk about Houston as America’s Headquarters City due to the large number of national and international companies that call our region home. This latest Fortune 500 list is just further evidence that Houston remains a draw for a diverse mix of companies looking for skilled corporate talent in a central geographic location with a low cost of doing business. The Houston economic development story is a strong one and we will continue to build on it via our target industries in the years to come.”  The region also had two companies come of the annual list. Apache, now known as APA, went from No. 465 to No. 595. Calpine (No. 319 in 2020) was acquired by a private consortium and is no longer publicly-traded.  The Fortune 500 list is one barometer of a region’s business activity and overall economic health. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic over the last year, the Houston region has continued to draw new business and investment. The Partnership and its regional allies assisted in 21 economic development projects in 2020, accounting for over $704 million in capital expenditure and over 3,200 new jobs to the region.   Learn what makes Houston an attractive place for headquarters and see the full Fortune 500 list.   
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