Houston sees boom of foreign investment and exports over the past decade
Throughout the past decade, over 500 foreign-owned companies from 36 countries have planned investments in Houston. The investments are spread across more than 600 deals within 63 industries in Houston. Adding up the amount of disclosed valuations, the total exceeds $33 billion.
The city has a lot to offer these companies from all over the world, says Greater Houston Partnership's senior vice president of research, Patrick Jankowski, in a release.
"These foreign-owned companies came to Houston for a variety of reasons, from being closer to their clients to establishing a beachhead for entering the U.S. market," Jankowski says in the release.
The information is compiled in the new Global Houston report from the GHP that analyzes data on foreign investment over the past decade. The research shows that now
The foreign investment movement greatly impacts the local economy, Jankowski adds.
"It infuses new capital into the region, expands the manufacturing base, helps underpin jobs, facilitates the exchange of ideas and best practices, increases trade, adds to the tax base and stimulates growth," he says.
Aside from the investments, the report found that locally, more than 2,500 Houston manufacturing firms have their hands in global trade. Around 17.3 percent of Houston's economy is related to exports, which amounts to double than what was recorded in 2003, according to the Brookings Institution. The Bayou City regularly leads the nation in exports, such as oil field services, refined products, chemicals, and fabricated metals.
The report also took into account Houston's diversity, which has also evolved over the past 10 years. About one in four residents are born outside the country, and a third of the population growth is attributed to immigrants — who account for 390,000 of the city's new residents. In 2017 alone, foreign-born Houstonians made up almost a third of the total GDP of Houston, or $142.1 billion.
"Over the last couple of decades, Houston's economy has become more diversified," says Bob Harvey, GHP president and CEO, in a news release. "We've surged beyond traditional oil and gas to include a burgeoning energy tech and renewables industry, a thriving life sciences and healthcare sector, and a robust advanced manufacturing ecosystem. And in that time, as this report shows, Houston's trade and investment ties with the rest of the world have grown as well. These global connections are essential to our long-term success."
In 2018, Houston's top five trade partners all increased activity. The top countries are, Mexico ($24.6 billion in 2018, compared to $20.1 billion in 2017), China ($20.3 billion, compared to $18.8 billion in 2017), Brazil ($12.9 billion, compared to $12.6 billion in 2017), The Netherlands ($10.4 billion, compared to $8.6 billion in 2017), and South Korea ($10.3 billion, compared to $6.8 billion in 2017).
By the numbers
Here are some key findings from the report.
- The Houston/Galveston Customs District handled 289.2 million tons of cargo in 2018, or 33,000 metric tons every hour.
- The Houston/Galveston Customs District ranked first in the nation in foreign tonnage handled and 7th in the nation by dollar value in 2018.
- The three ports of Houston, Galveston and Freeport support 343,525 jobs, according to a report from Martin & Associates and Texas A&M University
- Of Houston's 1.6 million foreign-born residents, 39.8 percent are naturalized (i.e. U.S. citizens). That's up from 32.3 percent a decade ago.
- Latin America leads among regions of origin for Houston's foreign-born population with 1.02 million people in 2017, up 42 percent from 2008. Asia follows at 409,395, up 37 percent and Africa with 95,017, a 14 percent increase.