SFCED | San Francisco Center for Economic Development


High-Tech Swagger and Financial Savvy: San Francisco’s Global Trade Advantage

As a global leader in finance, high tech, biotech and trade with China, San Francisco’s role in the global export economy makes the City by the Bay an economic powerhouse.

There’s nowhere quite like San Francisco. And while tourists may love our multicultural city’s cosmopolitan amenities, locals know the real benefit to being so international is how commerce and global trade drives our entire economy.

The Bay Area ranks 19th in the world, when compared to national economies, with a GDP of $535 billion. Last year, the Bay Area’s export goods totaled $54.2 billion in 2013, making it the fourth largest exporting region in the U.S. Much of that trade happens with Asia, but San Francisco also has trade ties with Mexico, Canada, and Europe.

San Francisco is also a beacon to people and companies who think outside the box.  As a result, the area’s exports are dominated by the number of pioneering, forward-thinking industries, including life sciences and healthcare, technology and digital media and financial services, that thrive here.

An international finance hub

Often referred to as the finance capital of the western United States, the city’s financial sector is truly global, with more than 30 international banks  and more than 80 foreign consulates and trade centers.

As a cosmopolitan costal city, San Francisco is a natural place for international finance to flourish. Forty-six percent of San Franciscans are bilingual with 112 languages spoken here. Furthermore, the sector is driven by a constant stream of international talent, with 32% of Stanford graduate students and 23% of UC Berkeley graduate students coming here from abroad.

Read more: HSBC Global Connections High-tech swagger and financial savvy: San Francisco’s global trade advantage