Skip to Content
The Big Picture San Diego Blog


FDI

April 18, 2017

Last time San Diego hosted BIO in 2014, San Diego companies were inundated with requests for meetings from visitors  looking to make connections outside of the convention center. After all, if you are going to visit one of the world's preeminent biotech hubs, you better take advantage of your surroundings. Many of these meetings result in inbound investment opportunities for San Diego businesses and research institutions.

WTC San Diego, in partnership with Biocom, has launched discoversdbio.com, a website that will track, vet and expand investment opportunities for San Diego businesses during the BIO International Convention

The 2017 BIO International Convention, the world’s leading biotechnology conference, comes to San Diego June 19 - June 21. In 2017, BIO is projected to attract more than 16,500 attendees, with more than 2,000 individuals coming from international destinations. These delegations, comprised of venture capitalists, foreign dignitaries, private companies and others, collectively send hundreds of requests to businesses and organizations for tours and meetings outside of the San Diego Convention Center.

Foreign investment (FDI) is an integral part of San Diego’s life sciences cluster. In Q1 2017 alone, 

San Diego’s life sciences cluster received more than $1.7 billion in FDI – more than 75 percent of the region’s total FDI during that quarter.

Discoversdbio.com will function as a one-stop-shop for delegations seeking opportunities in the broader San Diego community during BIO 2017. The tool will streamline requests, improve the tracking of visitors and strengthen the follow through. Delegations are directed to a website that captures contact information, delegation make-up, requested company tours and more.

“The annual BIO convention offers significant opportunities for companies to network at the conference, and because San Diego has a vibrant life sciences ecosystem, many visiting delegations are eager to make connections outside of the conference,” said Jennifer Landress, senior vice president and COO at Biocom. “However, sifting through a high volume of requests can be difficult. This tool will help track and vet the opportunities for San Diego organizations, giving them the information they need to make the decisions about which meetings to hold.”

San Diego life sciences companies and/or research institutions that are interested in hosting delegations, please contact Drew Garrison at dg@sandiegobusiness.org to be added to the website. 

San Diego Regional EDC, the parent organization of WTC San Diego, will also be running subsequent programming during BIO 2017 as a way to market the region and attract additional inbound investment. EDC will launch an economic impact study on San Diego’s genomics industry, making San Diego the first region in the U.S. to quantify its genomics industry.    

 

 

 

June 19, 2014

Today, the Brookings Institution released its first-ever metro-level analysis of foreign direct investment’s role in the San Diego metropolitan area’s economy as part of its Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. The report analyzes the types of foreign-owned businesses located in the San Diego metropolitan area, outlines the region’s sources of foreign investment and shows that 48,370 jobs are supported by FDI locally.

The research finds that San Diego has seen a steady climb in its FDI ranking, which is based on the top 100 most populous metropolitan areas in the US. In 1991, San Diego ranked 31 on the list with 25,600 jobs in foreign-owned establishments (FOE). In 2011, the region ranked 24th with 48,730 jobs, signifying more than a 90 percent increase in the number of jobs in FOEs in a 20 year period. Other key finds specific to the San Diego region are bulleted out below:

  • Industries with the highest concentration of jobs in FOEs include precision instruments (unmanned systems, medical devices), grocery stores and semiconductors
  • The largest share of jobs by FOE were created from mergers and acquisitions (36 percent)
  • FOEs have become more goods-intensive. The most recent data shows that 2011 was the first time more jobs in FOEs were concentrated in goods as opposed to services
  • Tokyo (13 percent) followed by London (12.1 percent) are the top sources of FDI by city

Since April 2014, San Diego has been part of a Global Cities Initiative pilot program to create and implement metropolitan plans to secure and sustain FDI. The FDI in U.S. Metro Areas report will help the region’s Global Cities Initiative team – comprised of leadership from the City of San Diego, San Diego Regional EDC, BIOCOM and Qualcomm – design its plan to maximize the amount, quality and economic benefits of FDI in the region and integrate FDI into an overall smart economic global trade and investment strategy.  San Diego is one of two cities - and the only in California - that Brookings selected to publish and develop its FDI plan.

“San Diego is global city,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC. “It’s no coincidence that our top two FDI-generating cities– Tokyo and London – are also the two direct international flights out of San Diego. This report gives the San Diego region a key resource to take full advantage of this important economic development tool.”

 

While the United States remains the world’s top destination for foreign investment, its position has been steadily eroding. Between 1999 and 2012, the U.S. share of global FDI inflows dropped from a high of 26 percent to just 12 percent. However, metropolitan areas are the country’s strongest magnets for global investment and so understanding the San Diego metro area’s FDI starting point will help the region fully leverage FDI to advance its economic development.

Brookings Panel in Seattle

According to the Brookings report, the benefits of FDI extend well beyond the millions of jobs supported. For example, U.S. affiliates of foreign companies pay well above average wages. These companies strengthen U.S. trade, producing more than one-fifth of all U.S. goods exports. Additionally, nineteen percent of all corporate R&D expenditures in the United States come from foreign-owned companies. Finally, 48 percent of total FDI flows in 2012 went to manufacturing industries, shoring up the nation’s eroding production base.

While metro areas have traditionally focused on attracting greenfield investment, this new data shows that most FDI enters regions through mergers and acquisitions. In the average year, mergers and acquisitions account for 87 percent of all FDI inflows into the United States. These investments have significant economic potential—for example, cash infusions can help local businesses expand, and new access to global distribution networks can boost exports.

“This new data allows U.S. metro areas, for the first time, better grasp FDI sources and trends, and its impact on local economies,” said Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of metro trade and investment. “As part of the Global Cities Initiative, San Diego is now at the forefront of U.S. metro areas seeking to position themselves as more globally fluent and competitive regions by developing a metropolitan global trade and investment plan.”

Next week, leaders from San Diego will travel to Louisville, Ky. to take part in a Global Cities Initiative panel. 

April 10, 2014

Brookings Panel in Seattle

 

San Diego is one of only six cities selected to participate in a new pilot program to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to the region as part of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the renowned Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.

San Diego joined Columbus, Minneapolis, Portland, San Antonio and Seattle in Seattle today to participate in the first working session, where leadership will collaborate with other regions to address the region’s foreign direct investment plan. San Diego’s team is made up of representatives from the City of San Diego, UC San Diego, JPMorgan Chase, Biocom, Qualcomm, GO-Biz and San Diego Regional EDC.

Foreign direct investment has long supported regional economies, not only by infusing capital, but also by investing in workers, strengthening global connections and sharing best business practices. As the world’s largest economy with a stable investment environment, the United States has been a top destination for foreign direct investment and San Diego is looking to ensure it pulls in a significant portion of this FDI.

In San Diego, many small and medium-sized enterprises have pushed their attention towards the issue of capital. As venture capitalists around the U.S. become more selective about companies they invest in, we must look for alternative solutions. FDI is one answer. Although FDI sounds like an elusive term, this means more capital flow to the region as well as more international attention paid to San Diego which has a strong economic payoff.   

Sean Barr, vice president of economic development at EDC, sat on panel today moderated by Amy Liu, senior fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, which discussed establishing a region’s global identity. According to Brookings, “the most globally fluent metro areas demonstrate a combination of an appealing identity, high standards and reputation, and global relevance in specific markets.”

San Diego has many strengths, and one of our admitted struggles is that it’s difficult to form a distinct global identity when we have so many industries of which to be proud. We are home to a thriving biotech sector where companies like Illumina - dubbed the “World’s Smartest Company” - are based. We have a strong defense sector that is second to none. From our telecom industry to our sports innovation and algae biofuels cluster, the region is an innovation hub. One thing that Sean stressed during the panel is that although San Diego loves its sun, we need to be comfortable shedding our strict tourism message and moving beyond “sun and Shamu.” Working with the Brookings Institute to increase San Diego’s share of FDI is one way to do this.

As part of the pilot, San Diego will develop a foreign direct investment market assessment and plan, along with an implementation plan and a policy memo. This work, added to the region’s existing export plan, forms the second core component of a global engagement strategy that will strengthen the region's global economic connections and competitiveness.

San Diego is the only city in California selected for this pilot program and is one of only two cities in the program for which Brookings will be developing and publishing the complete FDI plan.

Here’s what some people are saying about the announcement:

  • City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said: “San Diego’s strong ties to international markets, high-growth industries and culture of innovation mean we have the necessary ingredients to attract foreign direct investment to the region. I am honored Brookings selected San Diego for this pilot program and I look forward to working with the core team  to show that San Diego is open for business.”
     
  • Councilman Mark Kersey, fifth district, City of San Diego said: “San Diego is becoming start-up central and small-medium enterprises will benefit from a regional strategy for attracting foreign direct investment. I’d like to see more companies born global, attracting international investment and competing in worldwide markets.”
     
  • William Bold, senior vice president of government affairs of Qualcomm said:  “The highly educated work force, technology clusters, and location of San Diego already make it a thriving hub of the globalized economy. The Global Cities Initiative will only strengthen San Diego’s attractiveness to foreign investors looking for a solid innovation and high-technology track record. We’re delighted to help with an effort to share with the rest of the world the trade, talent and financial potential to be found here.”
     
  • Brennon Crist, JPMorgan Chase market manager for Middle Market/Commercial Banking in San Diego said: “We’re delighted that  San Diego will be a part of this new pilot – it’s exactly the kind of innovative planning that will ensure our community’s long-term economic success. We have a history of helping businesses connect to global markets and the Global Cities Initiative’s foreign direct investment work brings another level of depth to our region’s efforts to further create jobs, attract capital and grow our economy.”
     
  • Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of metro trade and investment said: “For this pilot, we selected metro areas that are committed to attracting and leveraging foreign direct investment as part of a comprehensive global trade and investment strategy. The six metro areas selected for this round will be strong role models for other regions and represent a growing group of leaders who understand the need to embrace the global market to remain competitive in the 21st century economy.”
     
  •  Joe Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom said: “The region’s global mindset is apparent when you look at the thriving life sciences industry. Companies have long looked to San Diego for its world-class talent pool and abundant research opportunities. San Diego’s new collaboration with Brookings not only means that the region has opportunities to create more jobs, but also that we will be looked at as a role model for other areas looking to embrace the global economy.”

 

 

November 7, 2013

California group photo with Sec. of Commerce Pritzker

EDC recently joined a delegation of nine California organizations, organized by the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), at the inaugural SelectUSA  Investment Summit in Washington D.C. The goal was to promote the golden state as the prime spot for international trade and investment. Hosted by the Department of Commerce, the summit connected top-level corporate executives and investors from the U.S., and around the globe, with the nation’s economic development organizations at the state, regional, and local levels.

Despite the federal government shutdown a few weeks prior, it was business as usual in the nation’s capital.  “The United States is open for business,” President Obama told a sold-out room at the conference. 

The two-day conference welcomed more than 1,000 attendees from nearly 60 international markets and 47 U.S. states, three U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Featured speakers, in addition to the President, included Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Secretary of State John Kerry, Bill Simon (President and CEO of Walmart U.S.), Parker Harris (Co-Founder of Salesforce.com), and Ludwig Willisch (CEO of BMW North America).  The summit also featured more than 70 high-level speakers covering topics such as workforce development, public-private partnerships through infrastructure investments and exports.

Why is foreign direct investment (FDI) important?  Direct investment in the United States – from foreign or domestic firms – is a critical factor in economic growth and job creation.  In 2012 alone, the U.S. attracted more than $160 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), making us the world’s top destination for FDI.  In 2011, foreign-owned companies in the U.S.  were responsible for employing 5.6 million U.S. workers. 

Where does California stack up in comparison to other U.S. states?  In April of this year, California Governor Jerry Brown announced more than $1.8 billion in deals making the state number one for attracting FDI.  Foreign-owned companies account for more than 700,000 jobs in the state.

At the conference, President Obama  announced the first-ever comprehensive effort led by the federal government to attract job-creating foreign investment to the U.S. through the expansion and enhancement of the SelectUSA initiative. The initiative seeks to grow FDI as the nation emerges from the recession and becomes an increasingly competitive location for attracting investment due to rising productivity, abundant low-cost energy and rising costs elsewhere.  With the announcement,  regions like San Diego can expect a smart FDI strategy that integrates export promotions, workforce development, innovation cluster creation and land use planning.   Such a strategy will reap the many benefits of international trade and investment—including new better paying jobs, new tax revenues, knowledge spillover and global connectivity. 

What does this mean for San Diego?  San Diego’s active role in    the State of California’s collaborative and coordinated investment promotion efforts is needed to engage and attract future investors;  our partnership with the Brookings Institution on the Metropolitan Export Initiative will create a regional export strategy that will boost the local economy and create jobs; and our ongoing involvement with the Global Cities Initiative to spur and strengthen regional global engagement puts San Diego on track for creating a blueprint for  global competitiveness.


posted by Daichi Pantaleon

June 14, 2013
By Jennifer Storm
 
Breweries and biotech companies abound. Strong public/private collaboration. A modernized downtown. A breathtaking waterfront. Until I came back from Yokohoma, Japan last week, I thought San Diego was the only place where this existed.
 
I was representing EDC as part of the World Trade Center San Diego’s trade mission to Japan, along with BIOCOM and San Diego Regional Airport Authority, to learn about further strengthening ties between the two regions. Last week, I boarded a plane at Lindbergh Field. Nearly 12 hours later, on one of the most immaculate airplanes I have ever seen, I stepped foot in Narita Airport in Tokyo thanks to Japan Airlines' direct service. A few days and a bus ride later I found myself on the way to Yokohoma, Japan – San Diego’s sister city. 
 
From an economic standpoint, it’s an optimal time to launch flight service between San Diego and Japan. Much like the U.S., Japan is climbing out of recession. As such, they’ve adopted liberal spending policies – known as Abe-nomics –to spur investment and growth, so there is a strong potential for increased foreign direct investment .  
 
YokohamaWhile in Yokohoma, Japanese business leaders exhibited their strong interest in partnering with San Diego companies. We were met with a delegation of 40 business leaders who had ties to San Diego or were interested in creating them. The strong link between Yokohama and San Diego was very apparent- I even met the sole distributor of Stone Beer in Japan! 
 
Traveling to Japan also helped me put things in perspective back home. It’s amazing how two distinct countries could have so much in common, yet also have the opportunity to learn so much from one another. The infrastructure in Japan is outstanding. You can move from one place to another with absolute ease.  This is something we’re working on in San Diego, but admittedly, we’re just not there yet.
 
On the other hand, while touring a biotech company, I had the opportunity to chat with one employee who had previously spent time at the Salk Institute. He noted that although he prefers Japan on a personal level, he misses the creative freedom of working in the U.S.  If he discovered something while in his lab at Salk, he had the freedom to explore that opportunity, in the hopes that it would lead to further research. Although it varies from company to company, he echoed that Japan has more of a regimented work environment. 
 
Although each city has excelled in similar industries, we have a lot of lessons to learn from each other. After all, isn’t that what siblings are for?
 
To learn more about San Diego’s most recent business delegation to Japan, you can read Joe Panetta’s guest column in the U-T.  
 
May 16, 2013

At EDC, we're always looking for new ways to tell San Diego's unique story. With the release of the Brookings Metropolitan Export Initiative was a good time to try it out. Using Storify, we integrated pictures, tweets, quotes and other forms of media from the event. Here's what we came up with:

 

Help us keep the conversation about the critical role exports can play in the region's global competitiveness strategy