Tel Aviv-Yafo, often referred to as just Tel Aviv, is the most populous city in the Gush Dan metropolitan area of Israel. Located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline, it is the economic and technological centre of the country.
Tel Aviv is governed by the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, and is home to many foreign embassies. Tel Aviv has the fourth-largest economy and the largest economy per capita in the Middle East. The city has the 31st highest cost of living in the world. Tel Aviv receives over 2.5 million international visitors annually. A "party capital" in the Middle East, it has a lively nightlife and 24-hour culture. Tel Aviv has been called The World's Vegan Food Capital, as it possesses the highest per capita population of vegans in the world, with many vegan eateries throughout the city. Tel Aviv is home to Tel Aviv University, the largest university in the country with more than 30,000 students.
Tel Aviv's White City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, comprises the world's largest concentration of International Style buildings, including Bauhaus and other related modernist architectural styles.
Tel Aviv has been ranked as the twenty-fifth most important financial centre in the world. It developed as a hub of business and scientific research. In 1926, the country's first shopping arcade, Passage Pensak, was built there. By 1936, as tens of thousands of middle class immigrants arrived from Europe, Tel Aviv was already the largest city in Palestine. A small port was built at the Yarkon estuary, and many cafes, clubs and cinemas opened. Herzl Street became a commercial thoroughfare at this time.
Economic activities account for 17 percent of the GDP. The city has been described as a "flourishing technological centre" by Newsweek and a "miniature Los Angeles" by The Economist. The city was described by Newsweek as one of the 10 most technologically influential cities in the world. Since then, high-tech industry in the Tel Aviv area has continued to develop. The Tel Aviv metropolitan area, including satellite cities such as Herzliya and Petah Tikva, is Israel's centre of high-tech, sometimes referred to as Silicon Wadi.
Tel Aviv is home to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), Israel's only stock exchange. The Tel Aviv Stock exchange has gained attention for its resilience and ability to recover from war and disasters. Many international venture-capital firms, scientific research institutes and high-tech companies are headquartered in the city. Industries in Tel Aviv include chemical processing, textile plants and food manufacturers.
The Kiryat Atidim high tech zone opened in 1972 and the city has become a major world high tech hub. The city was ranked second on a list of top places to found a high tech startup company. In 2013, Tel Aviv had more than 700 startup companies and research and development centres, and was ranked the second-most innovative city in the world.
According to Forbes, nine of its fifteen Israeli-born billionaires live in Israel; four live in Tel Aviv and its suburbs. The cost of living in Israel is high, with Tel Aviv being its most expensive city to live in. According to Mercer, a human resources consulting firm based in New York, as of 2010 Tel Aviv is the most expensive city in the Middle East and the 19th most expensive in the world.
Shopping malls in Tel Aviv include Dizengoff Center, Ramat Aviv Mall and Azrieli Shopping Mall and markets such as Carmel Market, Ha'Tikva Market, and Bezalel Market.
The municipality of Tel Aviv has agreements with many cities world-wide including: Almaty, Kazakhstan; Barcelona, Spain; Beijing, China; Belgrade, Serbia; Bonn, Germany; Budapest, Hungary; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cannes, France; Chișinău, Moldova; Chongqing, China; Cologne, Germany; Essen, Germany; Frankfurt, Germany; Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany; Guangdong (province), China; Incheon, South Korea; İzmir, Turkey; Łódź, Poland; Milano, Italy; Montreal, Canada; Moscow, Russia; New York, United States; Panama City, Panama; Paris, France; Philadelphia, United States; Saint Petersburg, Russia; San Antonio, United States; Sofia, Bulgaria; Thessaloniki, Greece; Toulouse, France; Vienna, Austria; Warsaw, Poland; Yokohama, Japan.
Tel Aviv is rated Beta + by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Beta level cities are cities that link moderate economic regions to the world economy.
Tel Aviv is the #38 city in the world according to the Global Power City Index (GPCI) which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to their magnetism, or their comprehensive power to attract people, capital, and enterprises from around the world. It does so through measuring six key functions: Economy, Research and Development, Cultural Interaction, Liveability, Environment, and Accessibility.
Tel Aviv is the #45 city in the world according to the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) which evaluates and ranks the competitiveness of the major financial centres of the world according to a wide range of criteria – Human Capital, Business, Finance, Infrastructure and Reputation.
Tel Aviv is ranked #23 by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. Tel Aviv 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 strong regional hub cities. Tel Aviv has a population of over 460,613 people. Tel Aviv also forms part of the wider Gush Dan metropolitan area which has a population of over 4,055,000 people.