Barcelona-Catalonia, best region in Europe for global investment

There are over 9,150 world-leading companies that are expanding their operations or establishing new R&D hubs in Catalonia.

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Best region in Europe

Catalonia, a world-class business destination.

Within Europe, Catalonia and Barcelona are among the top regions that multinationals choose when considering setting up shop in the continent. A total of 9,155 subsidiaries of foreign companies confirm the attractiveness of the area for doing business.

This number represents an increase of 2.8% compared to the 8,908 foreign subsidiaries identified in 2019, before the pandemic, and an increase of 60.4% compared to the 5,708 identified in 2014.

Impressive track record for foreign investment

According to the Financial Times, Catalonia is the second region in Western europe in job creation, and the first FDI destination in Spain (2016-2020).

The countries with the highest presence of foreign companies in Catalonia are France (with 13.6% of the total), Germany (12.2%), the United States (13%), United Kingdom (10.5%), Italy (8.4%), the Netherlands (5.3%), Luxembourg (3.6%), Switzerland (5%), Belgium (3%), and Japan (2.5%).

By sectors, the foreign subsidiaries established in Catalonia are dedicated to infrastructures (13.1% of the total), ICT and digital transformation of the industry (9.8%) and machinery (7.2%).

The Financial Times recognises Barcelona-Catalonia

Within Europe, Catalonia and Barcelona are both the region and the city with the best foreign investment attraction strategy according to fDI Magazine, part of the Financial Times Group.

It is one of the most prestigious international rankings used by multinationals to study future business investment projects. It acknowledges several initiatives carried out by the Catalan Government in the field of industry 4.0 and advanced manufacturing.

The publication also mentions the presence of higher education institutions in Catalonia that act “as high value-added investment magnets” and the fact that “international technology giants, SMEs, and highly specialized startups are attracting top talent from all over the world into the region”.

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).
 

“Catalonia is one of the richer regions with the highest opportunities for business, and also with the highest talent”

María Luisa Melo, DG of Public Affairs, Communications and CSR of Huawei Spain

“There is no better location than Barcelona to have access to the southern European market. I would also highlight the bureaucratic ease: it is much more agile here to manage human resources”

Jacob Pascual, Regional Sales Director of Universal Robots

  • Top 10

    Barcelona is the 10th city in the world to come to work (BCG, 2021)

  • No 1

    Catalonia and Barcelona have the best foreign investment attraction strategy (Financial Times, 2022)

  • 9th in the world

    Barcelona is the 9th most attractive global city (KPMG, 2021)