Catalonia has an extremely dynamic economy in other sectors not directly linked to industry, such as fintech, R&D and infrastructures and construction, where potential partners and providers can be found.
Innovation and R&D activity
Catalan R&D expenditure in 2017 grew 5.6% over the previous year, reaching 3,275.8 million euros, an increase higher than the European average (3.8%). Moreover, Catalonia concentrates the largest number of innovative companies in Spain (9,039 in 2017), with 21.9% of the total. Some examples of cutting-edge multinationals performing R&D in Catalonia include HP, Amazon, Facebook, Nestlé, Bayer, Nissan, Roche or BASF.
With leading scientific facilities, such as the ALBA Synchrotron, Mare Nostrum Supercomputer, Biomedical Research Park, Scientific Park of Barcelona or ICIQ, Catalonia has a well-established innovation ecosystem that will help you reach your objectives in this area.
Innovation and R&D activities also benefit from efficient tax deduction schemes, as well as from lower corporate tax rates than those in neighboring countries.
Fintech includes all financial activities that use new digital technologies to improve financial services. New business models are emerging alongside traditional banking, and in this sector Barcelona is becoming a hub to create and attract fintech startups. Recent data shows that there are 80 startups working in this field, with 1,700 jobs created. Some of the most successful Catalan fintech startups are Kantox, Verse or ID Finance.
The fintech ecosystem is also made up of technology developers, government and local administration regulating this new economic sector, financial institutions such as insurance companies or venture capital, and accelerators and investment funds that are pushing the sector forward.
Infrastructures and construction
Catalonia has excellent infrastructures to connect businesses with different markets by land, sea and by air. The infrastructures and construction sectors also cover the fields of architecture, engineering and construction materials.
In 2018, the construction sector grew 4.7% in Catalonia (higher than the GDP growth for the whole economy, at 2.6%) and is expected to continue growing in 2020, although with less intensity. The number of construction jobs also grew in 2018 with a total of 212,600 people employed (+2%).
Catalan engineering companies are largely working nowadays in the ecodesign field, where the main trends are in building energy efficient buildings and lessening environmental impact. Intensive use of advanced materials to enhance the quality of the products, as well as innovative technologies such as domotics or automation, are the principal drivers behind new construction projects in this sector.