International business appeal

Join the 6,500 international companies already settled in Catalonia.


Companies

Incoming investments join good company in Catalonia

The global nature of Catalonia’s business panorama is backed up by the 6,500 incoming firms now operating here. Furthermore, the business ecosystem shows a high level of diversification in terms of sectors and countries, and operates in a competitive, talented and open environment.

One of Europe's preferred areas for investment projects

Catalonia is among the top European regions for foreign investment attraction. According to fDi Markets, the most comprehensive online database of crossborder greenfield investments, in 2015 Barcelona was the second city in Europe in volume of foreign investment attracted (after Greater London) and the 6th city in Europe that attracted the highest number of FDI projects. Catalonia was the 4th region in Europe and the 1st region in continental western Europe in volume of foreign investment attracted.

According to data published by the State’s Ministry of Economy and Competiveness, foreign investment in Catalonia grew 57.8% in 2015, reaching a total of 4,783 million euros, the second highest figure on record, only surpassed by the 2010 figures. Catalonia concentrates 22% of all investments in Spain.

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 is now 9.12% (2014-15). It was 7.9% some years ago (2011-12) when it already doubled the amount of foreign students found on average in Spanish universities (2.8%).

A dynamic export sector

Catalan companies have significant experience in international trade. In 2015, Catalan exports grew by 6.1%, generating a record breaking 63.8 billion euros for the economy. This increase is largely attributed to 3% rise in the number of regular exporting businesses in Catalonia (16.422 companies) and represents 34.4% of the Spanish state’s total. Catalan exports represent 30% of Catalan GDP. Main export sectors are chemicals (19%), automotive (17%), food & drink (12%), textile and fashion (7%), pharmaceuticals (7%) and machinery (6%).

Catalonia is continental western Europe's 1st region in investment attraction, in terms of volume and in employment created, according to FDI Markets data

Foreign Companies and Foreign Investment in Catalonia (2004-2015)

FDI Statistics

Key Economic Data 2015

Population: 7.5 million

Area: 32,106 Km2

GDP (2015): 214.9 billion Euros

GDP per capita (2014): 27,833 Euros

Exports (2015): 63.8 billion Euros

R&D: 1.5% of GDP

FDI (2015): 4.783 million Euros

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
25% of Spanish foreign trade

6,500 multinationals in Catalonia. Breakdown by countries of origin.

13% Germany
12% France
11% USA

10% Netherlands
9% Italy
7% UK 

6% Luxembourg
5% Switzerland

4% Denmark

2% Belgium

2% Japan

2% Portugal


17% Others

Region of the Future

The Financial Times sees Catalonia as the best Southern European Region of the Future 2016/17 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.