Istanbul continued to be the cultural capital and trade center in every period of history. Although its change over time is highly criticized, it still continues to fascinate tourists. We have focused on Istanbul, which is at the center of attention not only for tourists but also for investors, from the “International Entrepreneurs Perspective” in a newly published report by the Istanbul Development Agency.
The target country determination strategy of international investors and entrepreneurs has changed after the pandemic. In line with the regional and international strategies they implement, they have directed their investments to countries with qualified human resources and relatively low costs, and Istanbul has more to offer.
Turkey’s commercial capital, Istanbul, which is among the leading brand cities of the world with its historical values, cultural background, qualified human resources, dynamic economic structure, rising entrepreneurship ecosystem and socio-cultural living standards, is under the eye of international investors thanks to all these features. Istanbul, which has been the center of global trade in every period of history, is a favorite of not only large international companies but also international entrepreneurs with its dynamic and rich structure. Being the locomotive of the country’s economic and social development, Istanbul is an advantageous and cost-effective region for international investors, as it is a bridge connecting Europe and Asia.
Istanbul has a wide range of sectors to invest in and has great potential for international start-up companies
The newly published report “Istanbul from the Perspective of International Entrepreneurs” by the Istanbul Development Agency demonstrates this with data. In Istanbul, where three-quarters of Turkey’s commercial activities take place, commercial exchanges take place with more than 200 countries today.
63% of the Companies with Foreign Capital are in Istanbul
Istanbul continues to be one of the most preferred investment bases of international capital with the foreign capital and investment incentive system it has implemented since the beginning of the 2000s. Of the 12 thousand 634 foreign-capital companies established in Turkey in 2019, 63 percent are located in Istanbul.
According to the trade registry records of Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, a company with a total capital of 3.4 billion TL was established by 12 thousand 644 foreign investors in 2019. According to the data of the Ministry of Industry and Technology, more than 40 thousand companies with international capital operate in Istanbul today. Italy ranks first with 977 million dollars in international direct investments coming to Turkey in 2020. Italy is followed by the United States of America with 803 million dollars, the Netherlands with 595 million dollars, England with 498 million dollars and Luxembourg with 437 million dollars.
Sectors in Istanbul that Receive Investments from International Investors
- Software and artificial intelligence
- Retail and E-commerce
- Financial technology
- Human Resources
- Micro Mobility
Europe’s 8th “Most Business-friendly” City
According to fDi Magazine 2020/2021 Future European Cities and Regions Report, Istanbul was chosen as the 8th “most business-friendly” city in Europe. Mostly Middle East, East Europe, North Africa and Central Asian markets are directed from Istanbul, which also has the feature of being a crossing point between Europe and regions between Middle Eastern and Eastern European companies. Preferred by international companies as a regional base due to its strategic location and ease of transportation, Istanbul stands out among other global cities.
International entrepreneurs who prefer Istanbul can reach a market of approximately 30 trillion dollars and a population of 1.5 billion with a four-hour flight. Turkey-based Turkish Airlines offers transportation services to 255 destinations in 122 countries.
Wide Range of Industry
Istanbul has a wide range of sectors to invest in. The biggest investment made by international investors in Istanbul is in the field of software and artificial intelligence today. Investments in informatics are followed by agriculture, energy, e-commerce, financial technology, food, medical, automotive, maritime, human resources, cosmetics and macro mobility sectors, respectively. In addition to this, Istanbul offers investment opportunities with competitive advantages for many sectors such as machinery, defense and aviation, logistics, infrastructure, finance, tourism and real estate.
The Favorite of International Entrepreneurs
The number of successful startups that came out of Istanbul’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and brought to the world gives hope to new entrepreneurs. Istanbul has great potential for international startup companies, as well. In addition, the city offers qualified and suitable human resources for start-up companies, especially in the fields of engineering and R&D. 54.9% of international entrepreneurs who came to Istanbul in 2019 focused on the informatics, retail and services sectors, With a total of 3 thousand 208 companies and a capital of approximately 1 billion TL, the services sector was the sector in which international entrepreneurs showed the most interest numerically.
The services sector was followed by the retail sector with 3 thousand 115 companies and a capital of 852.7 million TL, and the informatics sector with 615 entrepreneurs and 289.2 million TL capital. In terms of international capital value, 32.4 percent of the total international capital consists of services, 25.3 percent of retail and 8.6 percent of informatics sectors.
The Advantages Istanbul Offers to International Investors
- Strategic location
- Ease of access to target markets
- Logistics advantages & transportation infrastructure
- Young dynamic population / qualified workforce
- Sectoral diversity
- Competitive sectors
- Rapidly developing entrepreneurship ecosystem
- Social life and attraction of the city
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