Houston scores on the Fortune Global 500Fortune magazine recently released their 2006 Global 500 corporate rankings with a very cool graphic that is unfortunately not online. It's an abstract map of the world, with circles for each country proportional in size to the Global 500 revenues of companies based in that country. Then, within the circles, were the names of the cities in that country with Global 500 HQs, with larger font names for those cities with more Global 500 HQ revenues. Of course, the U.S. is the largest circle by far, followed by good sized circles for Britain, France, Germany, and Japan.
You can see the city rankings here, with Houston in a very respectable 10th place globally, with almost $327 billion in Global 500 revenues. The top four you can probably guess, each with Global 500 revenues over a trillion dollars: Tokyo, Paris, London, and New York (the classic Big 4 world class cities). Houston is third in the U.S., but you'll never guess who's #2 (8th globally). It's Irving, TX, home of mega-corp Exxon. As a matter of fact, poor Dallas (#203) is in a smaller font on the map than Houston, Irving, Plano, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, and Round Rock. Dallas has a single Global 500 to Houston's six, although obviously the DFW metro does much better.
You'll also have a hard time guessing #4 U.S. (#11 global): Bentonville, AR, home of Wal-Mart. Surprisingly, Chicago, whose metro barely beats us for #2 on the domestic Fortune 500 HQs, is way, way down at #43 on the global list. There is also an alternate ranking by number of HQs rather than revenue, where we move up to a 4-way tie for 9th place globally, tied with Atlanta for 2nd place in the U.S. with six.
Obviously, because of the energy industry, Houston stacks up extremely well. What's impressive is that our rankings are so high even without counting many Global 500 companies with major operations here, but not their HQ: Exxon, BP, Shell, Chevron, HP, etc.
So my next thought after reviewing this list/map is what major Global 500 business cities are we not yet connected to by nonstop flights? You can check out Continental's route maps here. We have the Big 4 covered (Tokyo, Paris, London, NYC), although we're stuck with remote London Gatwick instead of close-in Heathrow because of arcane regulations. The top ones we're missing are Beijing, Munich, and Seoul (The Hague is drivable from Amsterdam). China routes are pretty tightly controlled, so I doubt we'll see that one until the U.S. negotiates open skies with China. Lufthansa does run a hub out of Munich in addition to Frankfurt, so that's a possibility. And Continental SkyTeam partner Korean Air hubs out of Seoul, so we're likely to see that one in the not-to-distant future. Finishing out the top 15 cities, Zurich, Madrid, and Brussels seem like longshots. I think Continental is pretty content running those connections through Newark. But overall, we're in pretty good shape - both a top global business city and pretty well connected to other top global business cities, including almost all the ones in North America.
That's long enough for today. Thursday night I'll post on another Fortune ranking win for Houston.