Source: Fortune Magazine and United Nations.
The location of multinational head offices is indicative of their primacy in the global urban system. A head office is only one component of the activity scale of a multinational corporation and usually depicts little about its level of involvement across the world. The above map illustrates the market value of the 250 largest corporations compiled by the city housing their head office and classification of the countries according to their human development index (HDI). The following elements are characteristic of the spatial structure of these corporations:
- The head offices are dominantly located in North America and Western Europe; 173 head offices out of the 250 largest (69.2%) or 69.7% of the market value. Additionally, there is a high concentration of head offices in countries that have a high human development index (above 0.8); 194 head offices out of 250 (77.6%) or 76.5% of the market value.
- Six cities alone account for 68 head offices or 29.2% of the market value; New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Beijing, and Moscow. Unsurprisingly, they account for the more prominent global cities.
- Several countries have a very high level of concentration of head offices in their capital cities. Beijing, London, Paris, Tokyo, and Moscow are almost the sole location of head offices in their respective countries.
- The United States and Germany to a lesser extent have a good diffusion of head offices across their territory, illustrative of a regionally diversified resource, manufacturing, and financial base.