Reading has been ranked among the top 25 European business cities of the future for foreign direct investment (fDI) in the bi-annual report published by the Financial Times.
The bi-annual FDI European Cities of the Future Awards 2018/19 rank cities of all sizes across Europe against a number of business criteria to assess the attractiveness of each location for future investment and ranks Reading 25th in the whole of Europe, the third best placed UK city of any size.
Reading was named in the FDI’s Top 25 European cities in the previous three rankings (2012, 2014 and 2016) and has retained its status in 2018. In this year’s awards, Reading was also named the second most business-friendly small city in Europe based on factors such as the number and proportion of companies in high-tech and knowledge-based industries, jobs created by investment, foreign direct investment, ease of doing business and the number of FT Global companies located.
Overall, Reading was ranked in six categories:
- 2nd Small European Cities of the Future – Business Friendliness
- 10th Northern European Cities of the Future
- 8th Small European Cities of the Future
- 10th Small European Cities of the Future – Economic Potential
- 5th Small European Cities of the Future – Best for FDI Strategy
- 25th Overall ranking in European Cities of the Future
The awards were based on measures such as economic potential, labour force, education, lifestyle, connectivity, digital networks, business friendliness and cost effectiveness.
Sue Brackley, economic development manager for Reading UK CIC, the organisation which submitted Reading’s application to the 2018 Awards, said: “These awards recognise Reading’s compelling offer to business and investors – a base in the UK’s top performing knowledge economy alongside major blue-chip companies; access to a workforce that is 50% university-educated; huge investment in Grade A real estate around the new station and on Reading’s thriving business parks; excellent transport connectivity and a world-class research University. Equally important for business is the vibrant urban environment, heritage and cultural scene and surrounding countryside, which makes Reading such an attractive place to live, work and do business.”
Examples of Reading’s current international investments:
- Singaporean-listed real estate investors Frasers Property International bought Winnersh Triangle business park in 2017
- Green Park business park is now owned by Mapletree (Singapore)
- Royal Elm Park international Convention Centre at Reading FC is backed by the Thai former owners of Reading Football Club
- New international businesses have moved into Reading such as Ross Video (Canada) Macquarie (Australia) and Bayer (Germany)
Reading UK is the economic development company for Reading, promoting inward investment. This includes marketing Reading to business, ensuring the labour market has the skills necessary to support business needs and providing business investment support and intelligence.
Foreign direct investment (fDI) is a direct investment into production or business in a country by an individual or company of another country, either by buying a company in the target country or by expanding operations of an existing business in that country.