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The Big Picture San Diego Blog

San Diego's Global Summit

March 4, 2015

Leading up to San Diego’s Global Summit on March 11, we’ll be giving a rundown of some panelists, guest speakers and programs involved in the Summit every Wednesday.


Foreign direct investment inflows to the United States are big business. In 2012 alone, the U.S. attracted more than $160 billion in foreign direct investment, making our nation the world’s top destination for foreign direct investment. In 2011, foreign-owned companies in the U.S. were responsible for employing 5.6 million U.S. workers.

In San Diego, foreign direct investment supports more than 48,000 jobs, which pay an average of 30 percent more than industry average. Even though foreign owned firms in San Diego account for 5 percent of the region’s employment, they account for nearly 19 percent of all corporate R&D spending, 12 percent of the productivity growth, and 20 percent of the total goods exported.

The story of Althea Technologies, now known as Ajinomoto Althea, began in 1998, when Magda Marquet and Francois Ferre established Althea Technologies in San Diego and began developing plasmid kits and other related life sciences products. After 15 years of development and growth, the company was acquired by global Japanese manufacturer Ajinomoto Co. for approximately $175 million, which not only was a boon to San Diego’s economy, but also served to strengthen its ties to Tokyo and Japan.

Foreign direct investment from Japan in San Diego is a crucial part of the discussion when talking about our global competitiveness. Tokyo invests more in San Diego more than any other city, accounting for 13 percent of all foreign direct investment in San Diego. These investments bring capital, jobs and opportunities to the region and are important in supporting San Diego’s advanced industries.

Aside from explicit economic gains, these foreign ties will prove to be indispensable strategic partnerships for San Diego in the coming decades. Projections say that by 2030, 66 percent of the global middle class will be in Asia. Partnerships made in Asia today will undoubtedly pay dividends tomorrow. At the dawn of “America’s Pacific Century,” San Diego has the potential to be a national leader in the face of a changing economy.

On March 11 at San Diego’s Global Summit, Ajinomoto Althea and key leaders will launch the Go Global Trade and Investment Initiative.

The summit is SOLD OUT. You can catch the event live, starting at 11:45 am, courtesy of U-T San Diego. 

Join us as we formally launch the Go Global San Diego global competitiveness initiative on March 11. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.

February 25, 2015

Qualcomm quote & image

There’s no better indicator for, or example of, San Diego’s global competitiveness than one of our very own Fortune 500 companies, Qualcomm.  

Qualcomm’s regional impact and global recognition offers the world insight into the broad scope and depth of San Diego’s economy. The company’s international presence adds credibility to other San Diego businesses to ensure they are globally competitive. 

Qualcomm has been a key factor in the healthy state of our region’s economy, and continues to prove itself as a globally competitive and highly innovative company.  Qualcomm contributes $4.53 billion in economic activity annually, which is the equivalent of one and a half 2012 London Olympic Games. The company’s economic footprint in the San Diego region includes almost 14,000 Qualcomm employees.  Additionally, each job created at Qualcomm supports three additional jobs locally. San Diego’s community is stronger thanks to the more than $85 million donated to local charities between 2000 and 2011.

The impact of Qualcomm is a vital component of our region’s economic growth highlighting the significance of exporting as an important component for San Diego businesses to thrive and reinforce the region as a global competitor.

Why should companies in San Diego go global?

Not only do global companies pay more and boost productivity through spillovers, global companies are able to quickly adapt with the changing national and global economy. According to a report by Brookings, “during the past five years, increased exports have been responsible for one-third of U.S. economic growth.”

Qualcomm has proved that our region is well positioned for global success. The business environment here in San Diego is bustling with companies that are highly marketable on the global scale. Qualcomm is just one of several local companies in the scientific and technical service industries, a sector that grew by 9% in our region throughout the course of 2014. In order to sustain and increase this growth, we must look beyond our borders, recognizing our ability to compete IN A global market.

On March 11 at San Diego’s Global Summit, Qualcomm and key leaders will launch the Global Trade and Investment Initiative.

The event is SOLD OUT. There will be a webinar available to those who cannot attend. Details to follow soon. 

Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.


February 11, 2015

Leading up to San Diego’s Global Summit on March 11, we’ll be giving a rundown of some panelists, guest speakers and programs involved in the Summit every Wednesday.

JPMorgan quote & image

1,300 employees, 900,000+ consumer customers, and more than 66,000 small business clients in the San Diego region:  JPMorgan Chase’s incredible community involvement and collaboration ensures San Diego companies and organizations have the tools necessary to promote job growth and secure investment for the region.

JPMorgan Chase has been one of the key drivers behind the Global Cities Initiative. From the funding of the BEAM Kentucky Export Promotion Grant to arming local businesses and community leaders with the information they need, JPMorgan Chase successfully assists companies throughout the nation to go global.

For example, in the case of San Diego’s global trade and investment initiative, no other business has supported its successful implementation more than JPMorgan Chase. Through JPMorgan Chase’s major contributions, the global trade and investment initiative will enable San Diego companies to reach markets around the world by exporting or receiving foreign investment. In addition to providing companies access to global markets, this initiative will also provide companies with a roadmap to better understand the exporting process by  identifying organizations to work with and other important information empowering San Diego companies.

“The strategies outlined in San Diego’s global trade and investment initiative will help our region’s employers realize their export potential and strengthen our position as a hub for international investment,” said Brennon Crist, head of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Commercial Banking group in San Diego. “As we invest in the future of San Diego, we hope our commitment will serve as an example of the impact that the private sector can have on local and regional economic development.”

JP Morgan Chase, EDC and other key partners will announce San Diego’s global trade and investment initiative during  San Diego’s Global Summit on March 11 (sold out).  Without the generous support from JPMorgan Chase, the execution of the initiative’s programs would not be possible.

In the coming week, EDC will announce details for a live webcast of San Diego’s Global Summit. Stay tuned to learn more about San Diego’s global trade and investment initiative.    

Join us as we formally launch San Diego's Global Summit, a global competitiveness initiative, on March 11. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.

February 4, 2015

Leading up to San Diego’s Global Summit on March 11, we’ll be giving a rundown of some panelists, guest speakers and programs involved in the Summit every Wednesday.

UCSD Picture

From launching the region’s first biotech company in 1978 to creating companies which continue to drive the region’s innovation economy, UC San Diego elevates San Diego’s global profile. They have been ranked in the top 20 universities in the world.

“With more than $3.8 billion in total revenues, and over 650 companies launched by UC San Diego alumni, faculty and staff, UC San Diego is an economic engine that helps to drive the future of our region,” said Dr. Pradeep Khosla, chancellor at UC San Diego.

UC San Diego’s impact on the region cannot be overstated. It accounts for more than 60 percent of all bio-related degrees conferred from regional institutions. Its researchers attract more than $1 billion in funding to cure diseases and create some of the most innovative healthcare solutions. Each of these contributes a tremendous amount to San Diego’s rank nationally as one of the top biotech regions.

It doesn’t stop at the biotech industry. UC San Diego’s engineering program ranks 14th in the nation and 18th in the world. According to UC San Diego, startup companies created out of the university reported more than $31.6 billion in annual sales in 2012-2013.

How do these thousands of students from UC San Diego and the region’s institutions contribute to San Diego’s global profile?

When you look at the top 20 most populous metropolitan regions in the nation, San Diego ranks 2nd in percent of college grads with STEM degrees, 5th in percent of population with a doctorate degree or higher, and 3rd in the world in patents per million residents, San Diego stands tall as one of the premier destinations for innovative companies to locate and expand their footprint.

Businesses from around the nation and world continue to want to locate in San Diego because of the incredible talent funneled out of the region’s institutions. More than 200,000 students currently study at the region’s world-renowned institutions. These students go on to start their own businesses or work for some of the most creative and disruptive companies the world has seen.

UC San Diego, especially Dean Peter Cowhey and his staff at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, has been an integral partner since the beginning. It assisted in the development of the original Global San Diego Export Plan, released early 2014, and the global trade and investment plan to be released on March 11. Its students and staff assessed the region’s export market and dug deep into the region’s foreign direct investment dollars and jobs supported by foreign firms.

At San Diego’s Global Summit on March 11, Chancellor Khosla will join other community leaders to discuss San Diego’s competitiveness when attracting the smartest and most inventive individuals on the planet.

More information on March 11 is available here.


Join us as we formally launch San Diego's Global Summit, a global competitiveness initiative, on March 11. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.


January 28, 2015

Airport Image with Quote

Businesses have come together. Research has been compiled. Organizations have marching orders. What will San Diego do in order to project its competitiveness and ensure the entire world knows San Diego is the place to live and work? For starters, we’ll make sure people can get to and from the region.

San Diego International Airport (SAN) is one of the region’s premier vehicles lifting the region’s profile and connecting its businesses and people to the globe. With flights to more than eight nonstop international destinations, such as Tokyo through Japan Airlines (JAL) and London through British Airways, San Diego businesses have access to virtually any market around the globe.

The airport has been strategic about its global work. It’s no coincidence that San Diego’s two largest sources of foreign direct investment* are Japan and England, also the location of the region’s two direct intercontinental flights.

How else does the airport increase the region’s global profile and competitiveness?

In 2012 alone, San Diego International Airport created $9.2 billion in annual economic activity and supported nearly 89,750 jobs in the San Diego region. Additionally, SAN served a record 18.7 million passengers during 2014, the highest total seen since 2007.

The airport is a travelers’ first impression of the region as well as their last thoughts. With the newly-completed Terminal 2 “Green Build” expansion, travelers coming through the airport experience the best San Diego has to offer. When your regional airport includes one of the nation's fastest growing breweries and is infused with local cuisine, visitors coming to San Diego understand why so many people want to work and live in the metro region.

As the U.S.’ closest major airport to a downtown urban core, it makes sense that innovative technologies and solutions easily permeate into the daily activity at SAN. As the busiest single runway in the U.S., San Diego has adapted and implemented new and innovative technologies to improve efficiency and ensure reliability as planes arrive and depart from the airport. In 2012, JAL was the first airline to debut the sleek, innovative 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

As Bowens adds, “With the advent of new aircraft models better suited to San Diego’s unique environment, coupled with a new regional export strategy, San Diego is poised to further expand its global reach.”

At San Diego’s Global Summit on March 11, Thella Bowens, president/CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, will join other community leaders to discuss San Diego’s ability to compete on the global runway.

More information on March 11 is available here.

Next week: San Diego is not only home to one of the best universities in the nation, but one of the top 20 universities in the world. So how do we leverage these strengths of having one of the world’s most innovative universities in our global competitiveness plan? More on that, next week.

*Based on jobs in San Diego’s MSA in Foreign-owned establishments

Join us as we formally launch San Diego's Global Summit, a global competitiveness initiative, on March 11. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.

January 14, 2015
The post below is part of an on-going series leading up to San Diego's Global Summit, a global competitiveness initiative EDC will formally launch on March 11. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.
A revolution is stirring in America. Like all great revolutions, one starts with a simple but profound truth: Cities and metropolitan areas are the engines of economic prosperity and social transformation in the United States.” – Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley, The Metropolitan Revolution
The Great Recession had profound impacts on the national economy: businesses closed; unemployment increased; homes were liquidated. The U.S. experienced the repercussions of taking on large debt and focusing on consumption rather than production, innovation, and entrepreneurship. 

metro revolutaion

Enter Bruce Katz.  
Katz wrote The Metropolitan Revolution as a response to the inaction of the federal government to move the national economy in the right direction. Metropolitan regions, Katz argues, will drive the future growth and prosperity of the U.S. economy, not the federal government.
The top 100 metropolitan regions of the United States hold only 12 percent of the total land mass but they account for more than 66 percent of the nation’s population. With this high concentration of people, these economic powerhouses account for 75 percent of the entire country’s GDP, and 78 percent the nation’s patents - a sign of regions' innovative power. 


Top 100 metros

Credit: The Brookings Institute 

Putting words into action, Katz and his team at the Metropolitan Policy Program launched the Global Cities Initiative, a five-year project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase aimed at helping the leaders of metropolitan areas strengthen their regional economies by becoming more competitive in the global marketplace.

On March 11, EDC and partners will publicly launch San Diego's Global Summit presented by JP Morgan Chase with Katz by our side. Katz will be keynoting the event , where he will discuss San Diego’s – and other metros’ – strength in the global economy. In particular, his keynote will discuss San Diego's ability to innovate and adapt to world-changing events and grow its economy.

More information about San Diego's Global Summit on March 11 is available here.

Leading up to March 11, we’ll be giving a rundown of some panelists, guest speakers and programs involved in San Diego's Global Summit every Wednesday on our blog.

Next week: where does San Diego stack up when it comes to its ranking in the national economy? Here’s a hint:  We’re 17th in GDP and population, but 61st in export intensity. As a region,we have the opportunity to change this.