International business appeal

Join the 8,908 foreign companies already settled in Catalonia

Incoming investments join good company in Catalonia

The global nature of Catalonia’s business panorama is backed up by more than 8,908 incoming firms now operating here, a number that has grown 60% from 2013 to 2019. More presence of foreign companies translates into more skilled jobs, more talent attraction, and a stronger economy. You can download the full report on Foreign Companies in Catalonia here.

The countries with the highest presence of foreign companies in Catalonia are France (with 13% of the total), Germany (13%), the United States (12%), Italy (9%), United Kingdom (9%), the Netherlands (7%), Switzerland (5%), Luxembourg (4%), Denmark (3%) and Japan (3%).

China’s case stands out, as in 2013 it occupied the 33rd position in the ranking and is currently the 14th country with more companies. The Asia-Pacific area experienced a growth of 15% year-on-year in the number of companies.


More companies in tech sectors

A total of 1,369 foreign companies located in Catalonia (16% of the total) belong to technology sectors, a figure that has increased by 21% compared to 2018. These are subsidiaries that are mostly dedicated to the fields of ICT, the Industry 4.0, biotechnology, electronics, health and medical equipment, smart cities, digital and audiovisual content, mobile, video games and R&D.

Regarding sectors as a whole (per number of companies), the foreign subsidiaries established in Catalonia are dedicated to infrastructures (11.5% of the total), ICT-digital transformation (7.7%) and machinery (7.4%).

According to Catalonia Trade & Investment’s data, 18% of the subsidiaries of foreign companies in Catalonia have been created in the last 5 years, while 63% is over 10 years old. Moreover, they account for 50% of total turnover in Catalonia and 21% of them are SMEs.

One of Europe's preferred areas for investment projects

Catalonia and Barcelona are leading European regions when it comes to the attraction of foreign direct investment. The Financial Times recognized Catalonia and Barcelona for having Europe's best foreign investment attraction strategy.

The award, which falls into the category of Large European Regions of the Future - FDI Strategy, places Catalonia in the first place and ahead of regions such as North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) and Flanders (Belgium).

Also, according to the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Tourism of Spain, Catalonia attracted €26.67BN in the last five years (2015-2019), 35% more than in the previous five years.

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Foreign companies in Catalonia 2019. Download full report.

In 2019, the number of subsidiaries of foreign companies identified in Catalonia is 8,908. This accounts for a 3.1% growth compared to those identified in 2018 and a 59% growth compared to the 3,307subsidiaries of foreign companies identified in 2013.

Foreign investment in Catalonia 2020. Download full report.

Catalonia and Barcelona are leading European regions when it comes to attraction of foreign direct investment (FDI). FDI registered 22.84BN in Catalonia in the 2016-2020 period, a 26.2% increase over the 2011-2015 period.

8,908 multinationals in Catalonia. Breakdown by countries of origin.

13% France
13% Germany
12% USA
9% Italy
9% UK
7% Netherlands

5% Switzerland
4% Luxembourg
3% Denmark

3% Japan

22% Others


According to the Financial Times Group, Catalonia and Barcelona have Europe’s best foreign investment attraction strategy

Key Economic Data

Population: 7.7 million

Area: 32,108 Km2

GDP (2019): 250.5 billion Euros

GDP per capita (2019): 32,658 Euros

Exports (2019): 73,853 million Euros

FDI (2015-2019): 4,730 million Euros (yearly average)

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
24% of Spanish industry
25% of Spanish foreign trade