In a report titled “Tier 2 Cities of the Future 2020/21” published by fDi Intelligence, the City of Yokohama ranked in the top 10 secondary cities in the world in the FDI strategy category, claiming fifth place.
The City of Yokohama is the only city in Asia to rank in this year’s FDI Strategy category. The fDi Intelligence report defines secondary (Tier 2) cities as “non-capitals that attract no more than 20% of their country’s total FDI projects, and no less than 1%, with a total population of under eight million.” According to the report, Tier 2 cites were selected for this category based on factors which included the locations they target for their strategies, the sustainability of their long-term incentives and promotional activities, and, of course, their growth metrics. With Yokohama’s strategic attraction efforts and urban development, alongside the area’s hard and soft assets, Yokohama and its bay area have the potential to become Asia’s next-generation innovation hub.
Yokohama’s Minato Mirai 21 business district is on the verge of transforming into a next-generation innovation hub. Minato Mirai, an area comprised of both cutting-edge new buildings and historic landmarks, has been attracting businesses from across the globe; it has been selected to be the location of headquarters and R&D centers for major global companies such as Nissan Global Headquarters, Fuji Xerox, Shiseido, Kyocera, Murata Manufacturing, Sony, and LG Electronics. The area’s advantages and potential have been recognized by universities as well: Yokohama City University will open a satellite campus in Minato Mirai in 2020, and Kanagawa University has plans to open a campus there as well in 2021.
Meanwhile the adjacent Kannai district has been accumulating artists, creators, and innovators, which has led to the formulation of a remarkably creative community. In 2019, the startup support center YOXO BOX was established in Kannai, and this year Yokohama City was acknowledged by Japan’s national government as one of the country’s Global Startup Cities.
In the near future, even more exciting developments and innovative plans are slated for these districts in Yokohama’s bay area, including the re-purposing of the old City Hall building into a new building complex. This complex will feature space for companies and universities, and plans for its development sprung into action after the Yokohama City Hall was relocated in June of 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on office strategy, work styles, and personal lives. Yokohama, being located only 30 minutes from the center of Tokyo via train lines, and with its beautiful waterfront, nature, and entertainment, is proving to be a competitive and highly-desirable location for workers to live in, as an alternative to the bustling and packed metropolis of Tokyo. The new normal that arises from this pandemic may very well change the behavior of those who have been living in Yokohama and commuting into Tokyo as well. It is expected that a new, safe ecosystem will be created in Yokohama as a place where people can live, work, and play seamlessly.