International business appeal

Join the 8,642 international companies already settled in Catalonia.

Incoming investments join good company in Catalonia

The global nature of Catalonia’s business panorama is backed up by more than 8,600 incoming firms now operating here. Foreign companies account for 50% of Catalan exports, and 19% of total employment.

In terms of sectors, automotive and food account for 26% of foreing companies in Catalonia, and as for countries, 80% of foreign companies come from 10 different countries.

According to the turnover, the main activities of the value chain are manufacturing and commercial activities, while according to the number of companies commercial activities and services come first. Foreign manufacturing companies are, therefore, the ones that generate the highest value even though they are less numerous.

 

One of Europe's preferred areas for investment projects

Catalonia and Barcelona are leading European regions when it comes to attraction of foreign direct investment. The Financial Times highligted Catalonia as the best Southern European Region 2016/17 in its report on the most attractive European locations for investments.

Also, according to Ernst & Young European Attractiveness Survey 2016, Barcelona is the 5th most attractive investment location in Europe, after London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam.

A dynamic export sector

Catalan companies have significant experience in international trade. In 2017, Catalan exports grew by 8.7%, generating a record breaking 70.0 billion euros for the economy.

On a sectorial level, the 10 main exporting sectors in Catalonia have registered record highs in 2017, with significant growths in metallurgy and metal products (+12.7%), chemistry (9%), rubber and plastics (+6.5%), machinery (+6.3%), textiles and clothing (+5.4%), food and beverages (+5.2%), pharmaceutical products (+4.4%) and vehicles (+3.2%). In geographical terms, exports have beaten records in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and North America. Highlights include growth in North America (20.6%), Africa (15.2%), Asia (11.5%) and the European Union (7.2%)

Students from abroad

Its cultural diversity, the cosmopolitan atmosphere, and its trading history all mean Catalonia attracts talent worldwide. Thanks to this, both businesses and business professionals from all walks of life are completely at home here.

Catalan universities have gone from being relatively unknown on the international academic circuit to now having a greater percentage of foreign students than countries such as Germany, Denmark or Holland. International students in Catalan universities have experienced a growth of 13.44% over the last three years. The amount of foreign students in Catalan universities has rised from 7,796 in 2012 to 12,095 in 2017. It was 7.9% of total university students some years ago (2011-12) -when it already doubled the amount of foreign students found on average in Spanish universities (2.8%)-, went to a 9.12% in 2014-15, and reached a 14,2% in 2017, according to Idescat and AQU Catalunya.

Excellent career prospects and attractive business and leisure opportunities attract skilled professionals from all over the world who share Catalan professionals’ talent, commitment, energy, knowhow, curiosity and work ethic.

 


FDI in Catalonia and Barcelona 2017. Download full report.

Catalonia and Barcelona are leading European regions when it comes to attraction of foreign direct investment. FDI inflows hit a record high for two consecutive years, with €4,936 million in 2015, and €5,052 million in 2016.

According to E&Y European Attractiveness Survey 2016, Barcelona is the 5th most attractive investment location in Europe, after London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam

Key Economic Data

Population: 7.5 million

Area: 32,106 Km2

GDP (2017): 234.7 billion Euros

GDP per capita (2016): 29,966 Euros

Exports (2017): 70,828 million Euros

FDI (2031-2016): 4,064 million Euros (yearly average)

Catalonia accounts for:

1.5% of EU-28 population
1.5% of EU-28 GDP
1.3% of EU-28 exports

16% of Spanish population
20% of Spanish GDP
24% of Spanish industry
25% of Spanish foreign trade

8,642 multinationals in Catalonia. Breakdown by countries of origin.

13% Germany
12% France
12% USA
9% Italy
8% Netherlands
8% UK

7% Luxembourg
5% Switzerland
3% Denmark

3% Japan

21% Others