Digitalization and Catalonia under debate, among some of the most relevant companies from Bodensee Region

October 2016.- “Barcelona could be the next Silicon Valley”; “We decided to establish our global digital hub in Barcelona thanks to its outstanding talent and great location”; “The key to innovation is to create a strong culture of sharing knowledge”. These are just some of the statements arising out of the Panel “Catalonia meets Bodensee Region”, which took place in Friedichshafen, Germany, on October 4th, 2016.

NestléTÜV Rheinland, It-Informatik, Giesecke & Devrient and NAE were some of the leading participants of the discussions organized and conducted by Catalonia Trade and Investment and attended by 100 German business professionals. The General Director of Industry, Nuria Betriu and the Catalan Government Delegate in Germany, Marie Kapretz also presented the specific assets found in Catalonia that make it one of Europe’s leading regions in terms of foreign investment attraction.

The avid debate revealed some relevant announcements: Nestlé’s decision to place its digital hub in Barcelona is a consequence of its ambition to lead the industry in Digital Marketing and eCommerce, creating and running end-to-end Digital Platforms, Services and Solutions, touching billions of consumers everywhere in the world. Barcelona was the best choice because of its multilingual talent, its active digital ecosystem, and the high potential of attraction of the Barcelona’s start-up ecosystem. Nestlé announced early this year the creation of 70 jobs for its Global Digital Hub in Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona).

This declaration, followed by the confirmation of the German Industry 4.0 specialist IT-Informatik, which revealed new plans to invest in Catalonia, were just some of the signs of the positive trend of digitalization processes and businesses in Catalonia. The panel also highlighted the strong economic and trade ties between Germany and Catalonia. Germany is the main investor in Catalonia, with 36% of total FDI inflows in Catalonia over the last five years. Furthermore, there are 811 German subsidiaries in Catalonia, the top source of all foreign companies in the area. In order to reinforce these economic links, German offices of Catalonia Trade and Investment organized a brokerage event in the morning which allowed meetings between Catalan industrial producers and Swiss, Austrian and German buyers of leading companies from the Bodensee Region, such as ZF Friedichshafen or PRETTL.

Linked to these activities, Catalonia presented collaboration opportunities between companies, technology centres and public administration in terms of innovation, with the participation ofEURECAT, the main technology centre in Catalonia, and Bodenseezentrum Innovation 4.0.