Press Release: WTCLA Releases 2023 FDI Report of California

Golden State remains a critical nexus of foreign trade and investment for nations across the globe 

April 27, 2023 – Pasadena, Cali. – Today, at the annual Select LA Summit, the World Trade Center Los Angeles (WTCLA) presented its annual Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Report in partnership with Loyola Marymount University’s prestigious Center of International Business Education. 

“As our economy continues to rebound from COVID-19’s many disruptions, we are seeing that California and Los Angeles remain attractive investments for foreign companies looking to open-up-business or to expand their footprint in the United States, the largest consumer market in the world,” said Stephen Cheung, President and CEO of the World Trade Center Los Angeles. “Foreign direct investment is important to economic growth because it infuses additional capital into our region and provides well-paying jobs for our communities. Understanding what countries are here and how they have invested provides valuable insights on how global firms make key business decisions. We can also use this information to attract more international companies into our region.”  

The 2023 FDI Report demonstrates that Southern California’s 10-county region is the primary location for the state’s foreign direct investment, with over 11,000 FOEs and over 400,000 Californians employed by these firms. The fifteen counties of the Bay Area contribute over 5,700 establishments and 195,000 employees, with the remaining 1,386 FOEs and over 36,000 workers residing in Greater California.  

The manufacturing industry remains the top employer by far, with just under 214,000 Californians working in manufacturing FOEs, earning a cumulative $25.5 billion in wages. The second and third sectors are professional and business services, with 132,000 employees earning approximately $15.3 billion and Wholesale Trade, with over 74,000 employees, with approximately $6.9 billion, respectively. 

Japan is once again the top investor in California, with 3,471 firms employing 101,169 residents and paying over $11 billion in wages. The United Kingdom, France and Canada maintain their rankings from the previous year, while Germany joins the top five.  

This year’s report also studies the Location Preferences among the industry networks. The Center for International Business Education at Loyola Marymount University visually represents patterns among various industries and where they have chosen to establish operations over the last three decades. Local governments and community leaders can now identify those geographic hubs whose growth generates significant positive synergy for that select industry. This offers a quantifiable data-driven approach for investment and initiatives for compounding effects.   

“Location is critical to the success of FDI, and many industries appear to have location preferences. For instance, the information technology industry clusters in Silicon Valley and the entertainment and media industries have collected in Los Angeles. The driving forces of industries’ geographical concentration include access to knowledge spillover, proximity to suppliers or clients, and caliber and abundance of labor supply,” said Dr. Richard Tang, Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University. “This report shows how FDI differs in geographical preference by industry across California. Knowledge about the dynamics of industries’ location preferences helps inform investors’ location decisions and local governments’ plans for regional development.” 

The full report is available here: Foreign Direct Investment In California, 2023 


The World Trade Center Los Angeles (WTCLA) is dedicated to attracting foreign direct investment and facilitating business opportunities between Los Angeles and international companies. WTCLA is a non-profit organization that provides business assistance services to international companies seeking to locate or expand their business operations in the Los Angeles Region and to local companies seeking to export products or services to international markets. To learn more about WTCLA, please visit  

The Center for International Business Education (CIBE) of Loyola Marymount University is one of 16 regional and national resource centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education to help improve the U.S. global competitiveness through instruction, curriculum development, research, and business outreach. LMU CIBE supports the university’s mission to cultivate a “globally imaginative” campus and the College of Business Administration’s mission to advance knowledge and develop business leaders with moral courage and creative confidence to be a force for good in the global community. LMU CIBE emphasizes transformative education in cybersecurity; global sustainability and business ethics; global talent development and foreign business language education; innovative global marketing; and international entrepreneurship. To learn more about LMU CIBE and the resources available, please visit 

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) serves as the State of California’s leader for job growth, economic development, and business assistance efforts. Our teams are experts spanning industries, geographies and business backgrounds. We work to attract foreign direct investment to California to facilitate job growth across the state.

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