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 20.7% of of Catalonia's gross value added, which is above the figure for Spain (17.8%) and the European Commission's target of 20.0% by 2020. 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 biotech and renewable energy, services sectors like trading, ICTs, finance, healthcare, media and logistics together now represent two thirds of the Catalan GDP.

Industrial investment grew by 16.1% in 2018 and industrial turnover rose by 3.7%.

In 2018, Catalonia's GDP grew by 2.6% compared to 2017, accounting for 20% of Spain's total GDP. The rate surpasses the Eurozone's (1.8%) and the European Union's (1.9%). 

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 18.5% of new business created every year in Spain are based in Catalonia. The number of companies in Catalonia increased in 2018 for the fourth consecutive year, amounting to 618,366.

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.

Download the Catalan Business Environment Report 2018

Key Economic Data

Population: 7.6 million

Area: 32,108 Km2

GDP (2018): 242.3 billion Euros

GDP per capita (2017): 31,208 Euros

Exports (2018): 71,624 million Euros

FDI (2014-2018): 4,639 million Euros (yearly average)

Industrial Gross Value Added

14.3% - Chemicals

13.5% - Food & Beverage

  8.2% - Motor vehicles

  7.9% - Pharma 

  7.6% - Energy

  7.2% - Metal products

  5.7% - Machinery

  5.5% - Waste collection & treatment

  5.0% - Textile & Fashion

  3.8% - Electric & Electronics

  3.8% - Wood & Paper

  3.7% - Plastic 

 14.0% - Other


Industry’s total GVA 2016: €43,101 M

Wide availability of providers and suppliers

Relocation agencies
Human resources
Business associations
Law firms