Albuquerque, NM

The largest city in New Mexico, Albuquerque is also its economic center; it accounts for nearly half of the state’s economic activity. Part of its success can be attributed to a diverse economic base consisting of government, services, trade, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, and research and development. In 2004 Forbes magazine ranked Albuquerque the 12th best city in the nation for doing business. The Rio Grande River valley contains rich farm and pasture lands that support a sizable food industry, based mainly on fruit and produce, in the Albuquerque area. Since its early years as a stop on the Santa Fe Trail, the city has been a transportation and service center. Albuquerque is also home to more than 700 manufacturing firms—many of them located in well-planned industrial parks—that produce such goods as trailers, food products, electronic components, neon and electric signs, hardware, and machine tools. Among the major manufacturing firms that call Albuquerque home are Intel, GE, and General Mills. The Rio Grande Research Corridor, a constellation of high-technology industries, sprang up in the wake of the development of nuclear research during and after World War II. Each year, more than $4 billion is spent on research and development in the region. The area’s major employers are part of this complex. Sandia National Laboratories, a government research and development lab, is involved in laser technology and solar energy. Kirtland U.S. Air Force Base, the area’s largest employer and the sixth-largest military base in the world, is a weapons research center. In 2004, the value of the base’s economic impact to Albuquerque was $3.3 billion. For nearly a century people have valued Albuquerque for its dry air, which is especially beneficial to those with respiratory problems. Today the city’s medical services and facilities are a vital part of the local economy. The year-round sunny weather attracts pleasure seekers as well; more than four million tourists visit Albuquerque each year, to ski the Sandia Mountains and to absorb the city’s rich ethnic heritage. Items and goods produced: machine tools, fabricated structural steel, furniture, hardware, textiles, paints, varnishes, fertilizers, scientific instruments, electronic equipment, neon and electric signs, native American jewelry and curios.

Alexandria, VA

Though Alexandria is now an independent city, it was at one point a part of Washington D.C. The city is less than 10 miles from the District of Colombia and its economy is closely connected with the federal government in Washington, and it will continue to be in the future. The largest employers in Alexandria are federal government operations such as the Defense Department. Many of the private sector operations in the city also cater to government needs. Ultimately, activities of the federal government drive the economy of Alexandria, much like they drive the economies of other cities surrounding the District. As a result, the economic future of Alexandria will largely depend on how much the federal government grows in the coming years. Economists in the Washington D.C. area have stressed the importance of developing greater economic diversity in the region. In particular, the focus should be on developing streams of revenue that extend outside of the area. The reasoning is that the current economy in the Washington metro is heavily dependent on federal spending which can be inconsistent and irregular as the 2013 government shutdown demonstrated. Economic development specialists in the region are working on attracting and retaining companies in advanced industries with high research and development requirements. The Washington region as a whole has the human strengths necessary to maintain a high-tech STEM industry. In fact, there are signs that a new tech industry is slowly taking root in the District itself. The city of Alexandria, itself, will find it difficult to replicate the success of Washington D.C. Currently, the cost of living in Alexandria is far higher than both the national and state averages. The largest reason for this is real estate, though both transportation and food costs are higher than average. The high costs of the area combined with the lack of a high-tech cluster in Alexandria will make it difficult for the city to attract advanced industry to the city. Generally speaking, the private sector in Alexandria is not that large relative to other cities. The private companies that do operate in the city tend to be in the professional services, catering to the needs of the federal government. It is possible that Alexandria will be able to diversify through businesses that spillover from Washington D.C. However, until then there is not a compelling business reason to choose Alexandria over other cities at this time. Ultimately, Alexandria will likely continue being a prosperous city that benefits from its proximity to Washington D.C. It has a great deal of culture, and the people that make up the city come from diverse backgrounds. The city was not terribly affected by the Great Recession and its unemployment rate has fallen to 3.6%. As long as the government maintains its current levels of activity, Alexandria will remain an appealing city for professionals seeking high-quality jobs that cater to the federal government.

Amman, Jordan

The banking sector is one of the principal foundations of Jordan’s economy. Despite the unrest and economic difficulties in the Arab world resulting from the Arab Springuprisings, Jordan’s banking sector maintained its growth in 2014. The sector currently consists of 25 banks, 15 of which are listed on the Amman Stock Exchange. Amman is the base city for the international Arab Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East, serving clients in more than 600 branches in 30 countries on five continents. Arab Bank represents 28% of the Amman Stock Exchange and is the highest-ranked institution by market capitalization on the exchange. Amman is the 4th most visited Arab city and the ninth highest recipient of international visitor spending. Roughly 1.8 million tourists visited Amman in 2011 and spent over $1.3 billion in the city. The expansion of Queen Alia International Airport is an example of the Greater Amman Municipality’s heavy investment in the city’s infrastructure. The recent construction of a public transportation system and a national railway, and the expansion of roads, are intended to ease the traffic generated by the millions of annual visitors to the city. Amman, and Jordan in general, is the Middle East’s hub for medical tourism. Jordan receives the most medical tourists in the region and the fifth highest in the world. Amman receives 250,000 foreign patients a year and over $1 billion annually. Amman is introducing itself as a business hub. The city’s skyline is being continuously transformed through the emergence of new projects. A significant portion of business flowed into Amman following the 2003 Iraq War. Jordan’s main airport, Queen Alia International Airport, is located south of Amman and is the hub for the country’s national carrier Royal Jordanian, a major airline in the region. The airline is headquartered in Zahran district. Rubicon Group Holding and Maktoob, two major regional information technology companies, are based in Amman, along with major international corporations such as Hikma Pharmaceuticals, one of the Middle East’s largest pharmaceutical companies, and Aramex, the Middle East’s largest logistics and transportation company.

Anaheim, CA

Although known for its beaches and Disneyland, Orange county has evolved into a burgeoning center of business, finance and education. It is home to 30 major and smaller universities and professional schools which train thousands of students each year. UCI, Chapman University are two of the world renowned schools in the area known for both their undergraduate, but their law schools as well. Anaheim has continued to be a major magnet for tourism with several theme parks and employer of thousands of people. The accompanying hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues are a major driver of the local economy. Banking, financial planning firms and insurance companies also call OC their home. Major lending, claims and processing centers along with product development are leaders in the financial and business world.

Atyrau, Kazakhstan

The Customs Union evolved into the Eurasian Economic Union in January 2015. During 2014, Kazakhstan’s economy was suffering by Russia’s slowing economy, falling oil prices, and problems at its Kashagan oil field. Kazakhstan devalued its currency. GDP in 2014 was $212 billion, growth rate is 4.3 % in 2014. The major sectors are – agriculture as 4.9 % of total economy – grain, potatoes, vegetables, melons; livestock; industry is 29.5 % – oil, coal, iron ore, manganese, chromite, lead, zinc, copper, titanium, bauxite, gold, silver, phosphates, sulfur, uranium, iron and steel; agricultural machinery, electric motors, construction materials; services take 65.6 %. Labor force is 9.1 mln.; unemployment is 5.2 % in 2012. The prevailing semi desert nature in the region, make the agrarian business very weak. National trade exports: $87.25 bln. – oil and oil products, natural gas, ferrous metals, chemicals, machinery, grain, wool, meat, coal; China 15.9%, Russia 12.1%, Germany 9.5%, France 8.5%, Italy 5.3%, Greece 5.3%, Romania 5%. Trade imports: $47.56 bln. – machinery and equipment, metal products, foodstuffs; Russia 32.2%, China 29%, Germany 5%. Debt: $157 bln. Electricity production is 90.53 bln. kWh; consumption is 80.29 bln. kWh; import 4.25 bln. kWh; export 2.93 bln. kWh; generation capacity is 17.84 GW, with 87.3 % fossil and hydro is 12.7 %. Supply and distribution of electricity sometimes is unstable because of regional dependencies. There are abundant mineral deposits in the country – approximately one-fifth of the world’s uranium reserves; gold- seventh place in the world; copper-fourth; lead, zinc-fourth; aluminum–tenth place in the world; nickel, cobalt-twelfth and seventh places in the world; iron, manganese-sixth; chromium-third in the world; coal-in top ten. Crude production is 1.63 mln. bbl/day, export is 1.36 mln. bbl/day, import is 118 000 bbl/day, reserves 30 bln. bbl. Refined production – 300 000 bbl/day, consumption – 248 000 bbl/day, export 143 000 bbl/day, import 52 000 bbl/day. Gas production is 20 bln. m3, consumption is 15.7 bln. m3, export is 11.2 bln. m3, import is 6.5 bln. m3, reserves are 2.407 trillion m3. Kashagan oil field gives high expectations to local people for prosperity. The investments, reached several billions USD, but several technical problems delayed the start of the extraction. There are large residential complexes for oil workers. There is a pipe factory investment of Chevron and other with related materials. Expectations for long lasting business with the petrol in the region, makes some big company to invest and to build local content production facilities. Around Atyrau there is several gas pump station, Chinese investment, bringing natural gas to China. The local refinery is also property of Chinese company. The airport is well maintained. The city is safe, international banks have offices. Nationalism among locals is not strong and aggressive; most of them sympathize to foreigners. English is rarely spoken. The traffic of the city is not well controlled and in pick hours the moving slows to 5-10 km/hour. The military patrols are visible in many parts of the city. Opportunities are connected to favorable relations with the biggest world power – US, Russia, China, India, Japan, and EU. All of them have big investments and interests in the local economy and Kazakhstan keeps good relations with all. Numerous big energy companies are presented there, Shell, Chevron, Total, BP, NCPOC, Lukoil, Gazprom, to name a few. Threats are mainly connected to the falling prices of oil and commodities, as those are the main contributors to the economy. The country is not affected by terrorism, or other unfavorable international situation. It keeps very strong relations with Russia, but in the same time behaves independently to important world problems. Weaknesses are as following: too much dependence on the carbon business and minerals, whose prices are unstable; in the region of Atyrau the soil is not productive, the climate is difficult and nearest big city is on several hundred kilometers, chances for diversification in near future are weak; the Caspian sea cost is not appropriate for tourism or recreation, due to the inconvenient landscape; the infrastructures in the region need big improvement, especially water supply and road traffic; local engineering capacity is weak. Opportunities are in connection of the expected start of Kashagan pumping, it will bring thousands of jobs in maintenance industry; gradually locals also get jobs in high technology businesses; the President, with national program puts target of developing hydrocarbon independent economy, through investment in infrastructure, especially in railways and tourism attractive places, transport, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, petrochemicals and food processing; local friendly culture and safe environment will support the development, as this is the way to prosperity; improvement projects for stabilizing the electrical supply. A strategic plan of development of Kazakhstan until 2020 was adopted in 2010.

Bali, Indonesia

Bali is an island which is very popular even more popular for foreigners rather the country of Indonesia itself. Industry of hospitality and tourism with its MICE is very well developed which Bali can make a smooth process of either divide or blend between modern and traditional culture. Hotels and resort villas are spread almost throughout cities of Bali although it is still concentrated in Center-Southern part of Bali. Because of that reason as well trading of FMCG business, properties, products and services that support tourism and hospitality will never die. European and Australian goes to Bali to spend their retirement day or leisure with surfing and beach activities. Even Indonesians still put Bali as their top holiday destination.

Balikpapan, Indonesia

Balikpapan in the Kalimantan Islands is a very important city relating to forestry, mining, oil gas, construction and other services business in Indonesia. Being the country of many natural resources, Kalimantan Island and Balikpapan is the most prominent city where every investor or businessman always put their office or facilities here to run their business. Mining and oil gas industry and also forestry will always be the heart of business in Balikpapan where logistics is its supporting service that is always grown and much more to be developed as the infrastructure projects to connect to other cities in Kalimantan will always make Balikpapan its main hub.

Birmingham, United Kingdom

From a medieval market town, Birmingham developed in metalworking, leather and wool. With a number of natural advantages, which have driven its growth in the past; its location in the centre of England and its place in the middle of a growing network of medieval routes; nearby coal and iron deposits, and good waterways providing power for water mills. The growth in the canals, the development of rail across the UK impacted strongly on Birmingham. In the early 1900’s Birmingham became the centre of Car production in the UK, with a number of Private companies (Rover, Morris, Jaguar, Land Rover) merging to form the British Leyland Motor Company. Birmingham’s skill force in the industry has kept the industry in the area: Jaguar Land Rover have a large presence. In 2016 the world’s largest automotive supply chain trade show was held in Birmingham’s large Exhibition Centre the NEC. The venue, its location and the exhibition show the importance of Birmingham today. The NEC, opened in 1976 is the UK’s top venue, hosting more than 500 events a year, it is by far the largest in the UK, with ample parking and excellent transport routes. Birmingham has three world class universities and other tertiary colleges, attracting students from around the world. There is cultural diversity; more than 40% of its population is non-white, British or otherwise. Transport routes remain excellent, with road, rail and air routes to national and international destinations. Its International Airport, easily accessible from the city, is the UK’s seventh busiest airport, with over 9 million passengers a year, and now served by Emirates A380’s to the Middle East. Birmingham has a diverse list of top employers, ranging from Transport Services (National Express), Supermarket Head offices (Sainsbury’s), Food and Confectionery, Business and Financial Services, as well as automobile industry, and metal working industries. Business and Financial services and tourism are the more important industries. 256,000 people live and work in Birmingham, and around 300,000 in the Greater Birmingham area. 50% of the population of Birmingham are qualified at NVQ 3 and above; these statistics indicate a qualified and mobile workforce in the City. With an important place in the UK traffic system, and the UK’s largest exhibition centre, with a still thriving automobile industry the future for Birmingham should be bright. It has a mobile and qualified and skilled population. Concerns of the effect of “Brexit”, largely in the automotive sector; however, there is little reason why the city should not prosper with ties to the rest of the world. The population connections with India and the Middle East should provide a solid backdrop against which trade and expertise can be transferred to those areas. The key universities offer attractive study and research centres, supported by a regional policy to develop research and led by Aston University. Research thrives in medicine, engineering and life and health sciences; the diverse structure of the city’s industry should provide a good spring board for future growth and further diversification.

Bristol, United Kingdom

Built on a significant industrial history, and powered by the early development of rail and shipping routes, Bristol grew with a divergency of industries, which continues today. Bristol remains a vibrant and active City. Essential to its status today as an administration centre for financial services. Its Central Station, Temple Meads, a link with Bristol’s past, was designed and built by Brunel in 1841. As in the past, Bristol is home to a divergent range of Industries; ranging from IT, which is increasing in the City, Heavy Industry, with Babcock and Airbus having large operations there; Financial Services , Transport and Distribution. Unemployment in the City is slightly below the national average. In 2008 Bristol was named as the UK’s first cycling city, followed in 2013 with it being placed in the top 10 of world cities for being bicycle friendly. This, together with excellent local and national bus and train routes makes the City easy to both live and work in. Whilst its central station, Temple-Mead’s offers good national connections, the northerly station on the busy London to Wales and the West motorway system, Bristol Parkway, provides easy commuting to and from Bristol across the City. Bristol has an airport, which serves national and international routes. It is serviced by large national and international discount and premium carriers. Thus Bristol has excellent travel links within and outside the UK. Served with two first class universities, Bristol attracts high level students across many disciplines; this will serve its future well, as good universities will attract good employers. With its excellent transport links to the whole of the UK, Bristol is increasingly chosen as a head-office location for companies moving out of London. Bristol has set its target as developing a low Carbon future by 2050, with a number of plans in operation; in this it will become increasingly cycle friendly and will seek to attract and develop renewable energies.

Cardiff, United Kingdom

Cardiff is a vibrant city, home for many large companies in many sectors; including Financial Services, Food, and Manufacturing. Manufacturing continues to develop North of Cardiff in the important valleys area, prestigious names being headquarter there; Aston Martin and TVR. Cardiff is the most densely populated area in the whole of Wales with around 11% of the population of Wales, seeing recent annual increases above that of Wales as a whole. Cardiff University, a campus of the University of Wales is around 30th in various rankings of UK universities; a member of the Russell Group of research-led universities, in 2014 it had two Nobel Laureates on its staff. It maintains close links with local business to provide a centre for research and development. The recently (1999) completed National Stadium, the “Millennium Stadium”, now the “Principality” Stadium, sponsored by a local Financial Services company, is a state of the art Stadium used for sporting and music events. With a capacity of 75.000 it is the second largest stadium in the world having a retractable roof. Now refurbished, Central Station sees 12 million passengers each year, serving as a hub both west to ferry Routes to Ireland and East to London and the rest of the UK. Together, the Millennium Centre, a large multi-halled arts centre and the St David’s Shopping Centre, only the 11th largest in the UK, but in the top two in the UK for visitors, attract many visitors. The development of Cardiff Bay Barrier scheme, with subsequent growth of the Waterside area, the largest Waterside development in Europe, has significant impact on Cardiff, making it both an attractive City to live and work in, attracting visitors and new income. In 2016 Cardiff was joint 3rd in best Cities in Europe, with Stockholm and Copenhagen. Cardiff was founded on excellent and developing transport links; as will be its future. Cardiff is in the top 10 in the UK for population growth, fast broadband access and growth in homes built. This growth is predicted to continue in the future. While Wales is considerably influenced by UK general trends, Cardiff provides the heartbeat for Wales, and the focus is on the city to ensure that it continues to drive through growth. In line with this, Electrification of the Valleys railways by 2017, and the lines west to Fishguard and Milford Haven, will support future growth. Some concerns of the “Brexit” decision, as Wales previously enjoyed considerable EU financial funding, are resolved; as the UK government will replace this at least until 2020. The region possesses workers skilled in manufacturing; the move of Aston Martin and TVR to the area shows the opportunities for continued inward investment. Recent growth in Financial Services in Cardiff adds skills to the local working population for incoming companies. The vision for the future is stated in the 2010-2020 strategic plan, much of which has already been completed. Infrastructure development is still underway, particularly electrification of the surrounding rail network, and improvements to local motorway network.