Competitive economy

Catalonia adds more to your business model

The Financial Times sees Catalonia as the best Southern European Region 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 19.3% of Catalonia's gross added value, which is above the figure for Spain (15.7%). It is highly diversified with the main branches being chemicals, food and beverage, motor vehicles, pharma, energy, and metal products.

This traditional industrial production together with emerging sectors such as biotech and renewable energy, services sectors like trading, ICTs, finance, healthcare, media, and logistics together now represent two-thirds of the Catalan GDP.

In 2019, Catalonia's GDP grew by 1.9% compared to 2018, accounting for 20.1% of Spain's total GDP. The rate surpasses the GDP's growth in the Eurozone (1.2%). 

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 a 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

The number of companies in Catalonia amounted to 620,031 in 2019. It represents 18.4% of the total number of companies in Spain, Catalonia being the region that creates more companies.

Dynamism and diversification mean 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.

Download Report on Catalan Business Environment 2019

Key Economic Data

Population: 7.7 million

Area: 32,108 Km2

GDP (2019): 250.5 billion Euros

GDP per capita (2019): 32,658 Euros

Exports (2019): 73,853 million Euros

FDI (2015-2019): 4,730 million Euros (yearly average)

Industrial Gross Value Added

12.8% - Food & Beverage

11.1% - Chemicals

 10.5% - Motor vehicles

 10.0% - Pharma 

  7.8% - Energy

  7.6% - Metal (except machinery)

  5.5% - Textile & Fashion

  5.2% - Waste collection & treatment

  4.6% - Machinery

  4.0% - Wood & Paper

  3.8% - Plastic

  2.8% - Electric & Electronics 

14.3% - Other


Industry’s total GVA of 2017: €42,798M

Wide availability of providers and suppliers

Relocation agencies
Human resources
Business associations
Law firms