Competitive economy

Catalonia adds more to your business model

The Financial Times sees Catalonia as the best Southern European Region of the Future in its latest report on the most attractive European locations for future investments. Barcelona comes first in the continent by FDI strategy and policies for attracting investors.

A diversified industry, the backbone of the Catalan economy

Catalan industry accounts for 24% of Spanish industry and it is highly diversified with the main branches being food, chemicals and pharma, motor vehicles, and metal products and machinery.

This traditional industrial production together with emerging sectors such biotech and renewable energy, services sectors like trading, ICTs, finance, healthcare, media and logistics together now represent two thirds of the Catalan GDP. If one considers the widened perimeter of the so-called new industry (which includes internal services aimed at intermediate industrial consumption and the final demand of trade and freight transport sectors), this sector represents 50% of the Catalan GVA (Input-Output Tables 2011). In other words, half of the Catalan economy would have either a direct or indirect relationship with the industrial sector.

Smart industry

Opportunities arise now in different fields. ICT, smart and mobile activities are a significant part of Catalan economic vitality and top companies are implementing 4.0 solutions. In 3D printing, HP’s largest facilities outside the US are in Catalonia. In smart cars, the Catalan ecosystem enhances tests and industry. In big data, Catalonia is leading European player and Barcelona’s Center of Excellence in Big Data offers support and expertise to companies. Robotics, cybersecurity, videogames, drones and E-commerce are all top performers.

Businesses are in their element here

Around 20% of new business created every year in Spain are based in Catalonia.

Dynamism and diversification means a wide service base. For incoming companies this diversification represents a hub of high added value industries and a perfect location for services, making it easy to find suppliers for any specific area of business and markets for their products.

Two factors mean that firms can easily operate in Catalonia. First of all they are surrounded by a wide range of consultants and business service companies such as legal advisors, IT, HR, employment agencies, media companies, developers, etc; secondly, the existence of HR firms that specialise in mass recruitment and multilingual, finance, IT and data-processing candidates.

Competitive costs and conditions

Top-level talent with Barcelona being a competitive city in Europe in terms of salaries make Catalonia an ideal manufacturing base for ICT, industry and service activities, and for outsourcing operations. An excellent communications network also makes it ideal for locating regional HQ.

Catalonia is also attractive when it comes to considering office rents, energy and telecommunications costs as a whole. In fact, Barcelona is one of the top-ten European cities in terms of availability of affordable office space.

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)

Industrial Gross Value Added

13.32 % - Food

10.28 % - Chemicals

  9.73 % - Motor vehicles

  9.37 % - Energy

  8.79 % - Pharma 

  7.49 % - Metal (except machinery)

  5.73 % - Water Supply & Waste

  5.09 % - Paper

  4.71 % - Machinery

  4.51 % - Plastic 

  4.23 % - Textile & Fashion

  3.54 % - Electric & Electronics

13.21 % - Other


Industry’s total GDP 2016: € 42,672 M

Wide availability of providers and suppliers

Relocation agencies
Human resources
Business associations
Law firms