Competitive economy

Catalonia adds more to your business model

Nissan plant

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.

A diversified industry, the backbone of the Catalan economy

The Catalan economy 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.

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.

Businesses are in their element here

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

A skilled labour force at competitive costs make Catalonia an ideal manufacturing base for 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.

Business premises have access to a highly consolidated telecommunications structure, with Catalonia being leader in the development of broadband access and widespread fibre optic cover.

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

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

Industrial Gross Value Added 2015

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 2015: € 38,754 M

Wide availability of providers and suppliers

Relocation agencies
Human resources
Business associations
Law firms