Poznań is a city on the Warta River in west-central Poland, in the Greater Poland region. It is best known for its renaissance Old Town and Ostrów Tumski Cathedral. Today, Poznań is an important cultural and business centre and one of Poland's most populous regions with many regional customs such as Saint John's Fair, traditional Saint Martin's croissants and a local dialect.
Poznań is a centre of trade, sports, education, technology and tourism. It is an important academic site, with about 130,000 students and Adam Mickiewicz University, the third largest Polish university. Poznań is also the seat of the oldest Polish diocese, now being one of the most populous archdioceses in the country. The city also hosts the Poznań International Fair – the biggest industrial fair in Poland and one of the largest fairs in Europe. The city's most renowned landmarks include Poznań Town Hall, the National Museum, Grand Theatre, Fara Church, Poznań Cathedral and the Imperial Castle. According to several rankings it is one of the most business-friendly cities in Poland. It also ranks highly in safety and healthcare quality. The city of Poznań has also, many times, won the prize awarded by "Superbrands" for a very high quality city brand. In 2012, the Poznań's Art and Business Center "Stary Browar" won a competition organised by National Geographic Traveler and was given the first prize as one of the seven "New Polish Wonders".
Poznań has been an important trade centre since the Middle Ages. Starting in the 19th century, local heavy industry began to grow. Several major factories were built, including the Hipolit Cegielski's steel mill and railway factory, popularly called Ceglorz. Nowadays, Poznań is one of the major trade centres in Poland. It is regarded as the second most prosperous city in Poland. The city of Poznań produced PLN 31.8 billion of Poland's gross domestic product in 2006. It boasts a GDP per capita of 200.4% (2008) of Poland's average.
Many Western European companies have established their Polish headquarters in Poznań or in the nearby towns of Tarnowo Podgórne and Swarzędz. Most foreign investors are German (36%) and Dutch companies (14%). The best known examples of corporation who have their headquarters in Poznań and the surrounding areas are that of GlaxoSmithKline, Raben Group (near Kórnik) and Kuehne + Nagel (near Gądki).
Investors are mostly from the food processing, furniture, automotive and transport and logistics industries. Foreign companies are primarily attracted by low labour costs and by the relatively good road and railway network, good vocational skills of workers and relatively liberal employment laws.
Some of the best-known major corporations founded and still based in Poznań and the city's metropolitan area include Allegro, Poland's biggest online auction site, H. Cegielski-Poznań SA, a historic manufacturer, Solaris Bus & Coach, a modern bus and coach maker based in Bolechowo and Enea S.A., one of the country's biggest energy firms. Kompania Piwowarska based in Poznań produces some of Poland's best known beers, and includes not only the local Lech Brewery but also Tyskie from Tychy and Dojlidy Brewery from Białystok among many others.
Stary Browar, the centre of commerce and art built in 2003, won several awards for its architecture and as a best shopping centre in the World in the medium-sized commercial buildings category. Other notable shopping centres in the city include Galeria Malta, one of the largest in Central Europe, and the shops at the Hotel Bazar, a historical hotel and commercial centre in the Old Town.
Poznań is rated Gamma - by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Gamma level cities are cities that link smaller economic regions into the world economy.
Poznań is rated D by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. D cities are regional hub cities. Poznań was ranked #83 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Poznań has a population of over 533,830 people. Poznań also forms part of the wider Poznań metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,227,200 people.