Global Ties

A hub of international business activity, Chicago is home to well over 1,800 foreign-based companies, and with more than $100 billion in foreign direct investment

Recognized for its top foreign direct investment strategy among major cities around the world, Chicago is the top North American city for investment according to IBM’s annual Global Location Trends report.

Chicago’s robust international business resources include 80+ Consulates/Consuls General, and 100+ international/ethnic Chambers of Commerce and international trade organizations.

Chicago’s 29 international sister cities also help to strengthen and expand the city’s global partnerships.

Global Gateway

Chicago-based companies have a strong presence abroad, with more than 8,000 locations in 170 countries and territories—and it is easier than ever to expand those networks with more than 1,400 daily departures from Chicago to more than 200 cities worldwide.

Ranked the Best Big City in the U.S. by Conde Nast and selected as Bon Appetit’s Restaurant City of the Year, Chicago had a record breaking 55.2 million visitors in 2017.


Top ranked destination in the U.S. for foreign direct investment

Trending Global Location

IBM's Global Location Trends 2016 Annual Report ranks Chicago the top U.S. city for foreign direct investment (FDI); 7th globally.

IBM Global Location Trends Report

Gateway Agreements

With: Beijing | Shanghai | Shenyang | Qingdao | Tianjin | Hangzhou | Wuhan | Chengdu


Chinese Cities


Chicago Sister Cities in 27 countries around the world

Global Partnerships

As a division of WBC, Chicago Sister Cities International is a major proponent of Chicago's presence on the global stage and works to bind Chicago's international programming with its economic development goals.

Chicago Sister Cities International

International Trade

Total trade in Illinois was $181.4 billion in 2016.

Global exports, led by machinery parts, electric machinery, and vehicles, totaled $59.8 billion, while imports totaled $181.4 billion.

Major trade partners in 2016 include

Canada – $41.2 billion in total trade

China – $35.4 billion

Mexico – $21.2 billion

Japan – $11.8 billion

Germany – $7.8 billion

Competitive Real Estate

Chicago’s Total Office/Industrial Occupancy Cost in $ per Sq. Ft. per Year

Specialized Services

Businesses in the Chicago area benefit greatly from a sizable and concentrated pool of specialized services.

Prominent companies in advertising, management consulting, finance, human resources, accounting, law and logistics all serve to promote businesses in Chicago and around the world.

Whether your business operates on a local, national or global scale, everyone benefits.

Consulates and International Offices

Chicago has a significant number of international consulates, and trade & investment offices. In fact, with more than 80 Consulates & Consuls General, the city is one of the fastest-growing consular hubs in the nation.

There are more than 90 international trade and investment organizations and over 40 international/ethnic Chambers of Commerce in addition to the Consulates.