Make your
business global.

An Illinois location helps companies efficiently move people and products throughout North America and the world. With more than 2,000 internationally-owned businesses employing 375,000 people in Illinois, the state's central location and talented workforce propel Illinois to the global stage.

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Foreign Direct Investment

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Assets to Support International Companies

Global Connectivity

Strategically located in the center of the United States, Illinois’ world-class infrastructure includes eight foreign trade zones and five international airports, allowing international companies to access their customers and operations seamlessly. The state’s 19 port districts offer companies direct links to the Atlantic Ocean, Great Lakes, and Gulf of Mexico. Illinois is also the only state with all seven Class-1 railroads in the country. A leading global gateway, an Illinois location enables international companies to move their products to more than 200 countries around the world. Chicago’s O’Hare was recently ranked the most connected airport in the WORLD, and, from Illinois, you can reach 83 percent of the continental U.S. within a two-day truck drive.

A Robust International Community

In Illinois, companies will find a supportive and engaged international business community. The state’s international population includes over 1.8 million foreign-born individuals, making up 14% of Illinois’ population, and more than 80 foreign consulates that help to facilitate employee relocation for global firms. Countries leading in foreign investment include the UK, Japan, Germany, Canada, and France. With 90 sister cities across the state, 29 for Chicago alone, Illinois allows global businesses ample opportunity to reach the North American market, while also feeling at home.

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A Robust International Community


Top Foreign Firms in Illinois

Top Internationally-Owned Firms in Illinois

  • Compass Group
    • United Kingdom
    • 23,100+ employees
  • Otto Krahn Group
    • Germany
    • 8,300+ employees
  • Canadian National Railway
    • Canada
    • 6,700+ employees
  • Swiss Steel Group
    • Switzerland
    • 6,000+ employees
  • Schneider Electric
    • France
    • 5,900+ employees
  • Bank of Montreal
    • Canada
    • 5,500+ employees
  • BP
    • United Kingdom
    • 5,400+ employees

Key Data

  • 4th in the nation for number of employees supported by foreign owned U.S. subsidiaries.
  • Largest exporting state in Midwest, 5th in the U.S, with exports valued at over $78B in 2022.
  • Illinois foreign direct investments total over $113B, making IL the 5th largest source for FDI in the U.S.
  • 14% of Illinoisans are born outside the U.S.,
  • Illinois ranks 3rd in the number of jobs supported by exports nationally, with over 266.2K attributable jobs.

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