Top 10 Manufacturing Cities

Top 10 Manufacturing Cities
Shanghai, Mumbai, Beijing, Dubai, Johannesburg, São Paulo, Los Angeles, Seoul, Tokyo and Manchester are our top 10 manufacturing cities

Manchester is the birthplace of the first industrial revolution, whose technology spread across the globe. In 2023, megacities Beijing and Shanghai lead the world. Next door, the city of Mumbai is heading up the 'Make in India' initiative. Across the Arabian Sea, Dubai’s radiance offers businesses hot weather and a zero-tax sanctuary. Seoul manufactures food and upcycled fashion, while rival Tokyo is focused on smart manufacturing. Former gold-mining hub Johannesburg, South Africa, is a manufacturing and financial epicentre. In the Americas, São Paulo’s food giant JBS and Los Angeles' SpaceX ambitions are keeping the Western Hemisphere on its manufacturing toes. 

Manchester, England

10. Manchester, England

Manchester has a rich history of invention. It was the birthplace of the first industrial revolution in 1760 with the spinning Jenny, which led to an increase in slave labour to keep up with demand. The world’s first stored computer ran in 1948 at The University of Manchester and now The Advanced Machinery & Productivity Institute in Greater Manchester aims to future proof the UK’s manufacturing sector by creating new jobs and opportunities, ready for the next stage of industry evolution.

Johannesburg, South Africa

9. Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg started out as a gold mining settlement in the 1880s. Now, it’s a business hub and the financial capital of South Africa, responsible for 17% of the country’s GDP. The city is the headquarters of chemical manufacturer AECI, which was founded in 1896 and works across mining and agriculture, in the development of various chemicals and explosives. 

Africa's largest packaging company, Nampak, is based north of the city and provides packaging for food, beverages and industrial goods.

São Paulo, Brazil

8. São Paulo, Brazil

São Paulo is the biggest city in the Southern Hemisphere, in the world’s sixth most populous country. Although easily outshined by the bright lights and beaches of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo has the brains of the country, which is in part due to its coffee production. Food manufacturer JBS is the largest nonfinancial company in Brazil’s private sector and the second biggest food company in the world, popular for its frozen and ready-to-eat food.

Los Angeles, United States

7. Los Angeles, USA

In the 1996 ‘Escape from LA’, Kurt Russell arrives in the city via a torpedo sub, but soon, the city may be open to arrivals from space. Elon Musk’s private rocket company SpaceX has its research and manufacturing plant based in Los Angeles. The world’s richest man also has a vision to build a tunnel network underneath the city for flying Uber’s. The city is also known for its food manufacturing, such as Golden State Foods which is based in Irvine.

Seoul, South Korea

6. Seoul, South Korea

Confectionary giant Lotte was founded in 1967, in Seoul. Lotte’s products, such as the stick biscuit Pepero, have benefitted from the Korean Wave (known as Hallyu). Lotte is the third largest gum manufacturer in the world.

The Hyundai Motor Company’s ‘Re:Style’ upcycling fashion project uses materials discarded during the vehicle manufacturing process for clothing. Launched in Seoul and Paris, Hyundai has partnered with L’Eclaireur and Boontheshop to highlight the automotive manufacturers commitment to sustainable manufacturing and creative outside collaboration.

Tokyo, Japan

5. Tokyo, Japan

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation is headquartered in Tokyo and develops electronics and electrical equipment, employing smart manufacturing technologies to optimise its industrial processes and enhance productivity. IoT and edge computing are used for connectivity. Mitsubishi Electric also offers factory automation solutions which integrate robotics, control systems and software.

Meanwhile, the University of Tokyo has combined 2D printing, with traditional origami and chemistry in order to create a method of rapid 3D object fabrication, without creating waste.

Dubai, UAE

4. Dubai, UAE

Dubai’s glowing infrastructure and zero-tax regime make it a superb business location. Despite its size, the manufacturing sector in Dubai is advancing. Keeping the city cool is soft drinks manufacturer Dubai Refreshment. Founded in 1959 as the first bottling company in the UAE, the company brought non-alcoholic beverages into the region, including Pepsi Cola. Ducab Group has six manufacturing facilities in the UAE and manufactures cable products and overhead conductors for many sectors, including energy, construction, defence, rail transport, marine, mining and automotive.

Beijing, China

3. Beijing, China

Megacity Beijing is home to 21m people. The China National Tobacco Corporation (CNTC) is the largest cigarette manufacturer in the world. CNTC manages various tobacco manufacturers, in addition to suppliers and farmers. While 50% of Chinese men smoke, China’s youth instead favour e-cigarettes and vapes. 

Military technology manufacturer Norinco is also based in the city and builds auto parts, engineering machinery and equipment, railway products and petrochemicals, while Xiaomi Corporation manufactures smartphones and smart hardware connected by an IoT platform. 

Mumbai, India

2. Mumbai, India

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, hopes to create millions of new jobs in the manufacturing sector for the ‘Make in India’ programme. A lot of this work will take place in the coastal city, Mumbai. A bustling city, Mumbai saw the country’s first train run in 1853, the first bus service in 1926 and the first airport, which took off in 1928. As a result of this well-developed infrastructure, Mumbai became the wealthiest city in India, the country’s finance and entertainment capital and a manufacturing powerhouse. 

Tech Mahindra, a part of the Mahindra Group, is working hard to promote digital transformation across manufacturing. Mahindra Group has recently announced a dedicated platform in the USA.

“This step aims to enhance global manufacturing and supply chain solutions for American companies,” said Anish Shah, MD & CEO of the Mahindra Group. “We are committed to leveraging our experience, capabilities and expansive scale thereby strengthening the global manufacturing landscape."

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Shanghai, China

1. Shanghai, China

Almost one-third (28.7%) of global manufacturing is completed in China, with the coastal city of Shanghai its largest hub. Each month, 2,000 container ships leave the port with cars, electronics and more. Over the pandemic, work was suspended, leaving the 25m population in a city-wide lockdown. Now, the city is back to work. 

China’s construction totaled 25.9% of China's GDP back in 2020, with Baosteel at the helm exporting high-strength steel across the world, where it is used in transportation and nuclear power. Technology company ABB Engineering builds safe and sustainable robots and automation systems for use across the automotive and electronics sectors, in addition to plastics and packaging.

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical group Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding supports healthcare services in their research and development, distribution and retail, as well as pharma manufacturing. The company had a revenue of US$26.5bn in 2019, making it one of China’s heavyweight healthcare forces.

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