Mapa cabecera regions

Select the region

Reasons to invest

1 Industrial economy and specialized talent

Catalan industry represents 20.7% of Catalonia's gross value-added (according to data from Idescat), which now surpasses the European Commission's objective of 20% by 2020. Industry in the region is diversified, with food and beverage, motor vehicles, chemical products, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications the main industries.

Traditional manufacturing industries, along with emerging industries and industry-related services (such as ICT, finance, healthcare and logistics) currently represent 50% of Catalan GDP.

The number of companies headquartered in Catalonia was up in 2018 for the fourth consecutive year, to 618,366 (according to data from the INE). This drive and diversification translate into a broad network of suppliers ready to operate in any area of business. Moreover, an excellent educational system in Catalonia guarantees a highly qualified national and international workforce. 

2 Technology and startup hub

Catalonia is a leading European ICT hub that attracts foreign investment in technology. Barcelona is considered the world’s fourth most technology-oriented city, and most prepared for the technology of the future. It is the fifth European city in attracting technology investments.

The number of ICT companies has grown 27% since 2013, and Catalonia is home to 22.3% of all companies in the industry in Spain. Prestigious multinationals like King, Amazon, HP, Nestlé and Roche have their technology and R&D hubs in Catalonia. In addition, Barcelona hosts world-class technology events such as the Mobile World Congress, 4YFN and the Smart City Expo World Congress, and was the venue for the largest audiovisual salon in the world in 2021 (Integrated Systems Europe).

Barcelona is also a model startup ecosystem in southern Europe, with more than 1,300 startups that mainly engage in activities in Industry 4.0 (17%), life sciences (13%), and mobile technologies (11%). As a technology region that draws international attention, 26% of the workers and 15% of startup founders are foreigners. 

3 Strategic position in southern Europe

Catalonia is an open trade economy specializing in international trade, with an efficient combination of far-reaching infrastructures. It is the only place in southern Europe that has an international port and airport, as well as duty free logistics areas with warehousing capacity within a radius of 12 km.

It is the largest intermodal transportation hub in southern Europe with a network of high-speed trains and highways that fully connect with the rest of Europe’s road systems.

Barcelona links 400 million consumers in Europe and North Africa in under 48 hours. Geography has played a favorable role in Catalonia's economy. Its Mediterranean location and close connections with Latin America have made it a first-rate venue to distribute goods and services to major markets. Catalonia is Spain's leading export region (€71.624 billion in 2018) with 33.3% of Spanish exporting companies.

4 Talent and education

Catalonia's university system includes 12 public and private universities, five international schools and five campuses of excellence. According to The Times, it is the third best university system in Europe. Barcelona is also the seat of IESE, ESADE and EADA, business schools, considered among the most prestigious in the world.

Barcelona and Catalonia also stand out for their open and multicultural nature and their ability to attract international talent. The Catalan capital is considered the fourth most attractive city in the world to work in and has a wealth of skilled labor in science and technology. 

5 Business orientation and investor services

Catalonia has a solid industrial tradition and powerful network of business associations and clusters that advocate cooperation in business and increased competitiveness. The Catalan government supports all business initiatives with business-friendly policies to promote enterprise and entrepreneurs. It is no surprise that Catalonia has been recognized by the Financial Times' fDi Magazine as the best region to invest in Southern Europe in 2018 and 2019.

Catalonia Trade & Investment, the Catalan government's investment attraction agency, offers free and personalized advice to international companies considering Catalonia as a location to set up their European base. A multidisciplinary team offers customized services such as business location search, visas, international mobility, identifying suppliers, etc.