The World's Best

Twelve manufacturing communities around the globe stand out from the rest. They are, simply, the best at developing, making, marketing, moving, and managing products. Business thrives in Barcelona because Catalonia's capital boasts a striking diversity of industry, from the heaviest and lowest tech to the lightest and highest tech. In Houston, an impressive transportation network ties together engineering talent, machining expertise, petrochemical complexes, and an abundance of technically skilled workers. With companies whose products range from chocolates and coffee to machine tools and textiles, the Milan/Turin metro area is much more than Europe's automaker. Osaka, home to 38,000 Japanese companies and host to 250 foreign firms, has a storied industrial tradition and a cutting-edge openness to new ideas. Timber town turned high-tech hub, Oregon's Portland employs some of America's most productive workers in a place distinguished by green space and a manageable pace. Manufacturing has found the way to San Jose, a community that hums 24/7, churning out products, processes, and new companies. Metro So Paulo is 39 municipalities, more than 17 million people, and the industrial heart of South America. In Seoul, the chaebol, South Korea's famed and still-powerful family-run conglomerates, are meeting the dot.coms. Result: a community of innovative alliances and high-tech production. In Shanghai, Zhu Rongji, once the city's mayor and now China's premier, built Pudong, a district of skyscrapers and new production sites, and the industrialists have come. Tiny Singapore offers manufacturers big advantages: strategic location, excellent infrastructure, educated workforce, Internet-savvy society, and superior banking system. Although much of the brawn may be gone from the central city, Tokyo remains the brains of Japanese manufacturing. It's where top executives make critical, strategic decisions. As a manufacturing community, the whole of Toronto is far greater than the sum of its parts, a credit to the desire of businesses, governments, schools, and people of different cultures to work together.

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