Ten trade agreements were signed between Catalan companies and the Shenzhen region, with a notable attendance of nearly 500 business professionals. The fruitful collaboration between the two entities highlights the potential for mutually beneficial business relationships and is a testament to the importance of fostering international trade partnerships.
The event, which took place at Fira Barcelona, brought together technology companies (Huawei), automotive companies (BYD, Gestamp), healthcare companies (Mindray), human capital investment companies (Capital Group), and airline companies (Shenzhen Airlines and Air China).
“We are a region with a strategic enclave at the gates of Europe and the Mediterranean, with a market reach of more than 400 million people in less than 48 hours.”
Roger Torrent, Minister of Business and Labour of Catalonia
The event was attended by the Minister of Business and Labour of Catalonia, Roger Torrent; the Secretary for Business and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment, Albert Castellanos; Mr. Jaume Collboni, Mayor of Barcelona City Council; Ms. Liling Qi, President of the Association of Industry and Commerce of Shenzhen in Spain (AICSE); Mr. Wang Qiang, member of the Shenzhen Municipal Committee and Mr. Hu Aimin, Acting Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Barcelona, among other representatives.
Ms. Liling Qi, President of the Association of Industry and Commerce of Shenzhen in Spain (AICSE), presented the act as an "event to promote business and cooperation agreements between the Catalan business sector and Shenzhen."
Minister Roger Torrentsaid during his presentation, "Barcelona-Catalonia is a land of opportunities. For the past two years, the Financial Times magazine has designed Catalonia as the best European region to invest, do business, and grow." Torrentalso highlighted, "We are a region with a strategic enclave at the gates of Europe and the Mediterranean, with a market reach of more than 400 million people in less than 48 hours."
During his presentation, Minister Torrent announced that next October," the Government of Catalonia will make its first official trip to China since the pandemic to strengthen ties between Barcelona-Catalonia and Shenzhen."
On the other hand, Secretary Albert Castellanos emphasized during his speech that "the bridge between Barcelona and Shenzhen is a bridge of trust and commercial relations that has advanced very well in recent years." He highlighted that "today, we have 9155 foreign companies established in Catalonia, the highest figure on record, among which we have Chinese companies, more than a hundred (114), of 65 parent companies. We have to make Chinese presence more and more important every day."
Castellanosalso stressed, "In 2022, ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment attracted projects worth 620 million euros, 85% of which were industrial investments. Some of these projects come from Chinese companies, especially from Shenzhen. In fact, among the 600 investment projects that we have in our portfolio, I would like to mention projects that are already a reality and come from Shenzhen, for example, AOTO Electronics, which in 2022 established its European headquarters in Barcelona with the support of ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment, and also mentioning the investments that Huawei has made in Catalonia in recent years".
During his intervention, Mr. Wang Qiang, a Shenzhen Municipal Committee member, announced that to further strengthen the ties between Shenzhen and Barcelona, from February 2024, the weekly frequency of flights Barcelona-Shenzhen will be increased to 3 flights per week.
China, a strategic country for Catalonia
Regarding exports, China is in the top ten main countries receiving Catalan exports. It has positioned itself as the second non-European destination for Catalan exports in 2021 and 2022. In recent years, it has consolidated its position as a major investor in Catalonia, carrying out many industrial, R&D, and ICT projects.
ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment has three offices in China, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing, for Chinese companies interested in setting up a business in Barcelona-Catalonia.
Chinese companies in Catalonia
The number of foreign companies establishing themselves in Catalonia is increasing annually. There are currently 9,155 foreign companies based in Catalonia, the highest number ever recorded. Major Asian groups, such as the Chinese, are increasingly choosing Catalonia to place some of their European factories to cover the nearshoring market. There are over a hundred (114) Chinese subsidiaries in Catalonia from 65 parent companies. These companies include Lenovo, Huawei, Air China, PXI Automotive, and Sinochen.
We also assist companies in finding local partners and suppliers and offer aid in accessing financing and funding opportunities. Furthermore, our organization assists in locating skilled professionals and establishing R&D centers, innovative laboratories, and technology transfer centers.
From our agency, we promote specific collaborative initiatives such as Barceloc, promoted by ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment, Port de Barcelona, and Barcelona City Council, to promote the attraction of logistics investments of Asian companies in Catalonia, especially Chinese, and specifically the establishment of distribution centers of these companies in sectors such as automotive, electronics, chemicals, industrial products, fashion and footwear, and e-commerce.
In the case of China, we have a specific instrument, the China Desk, which aims to further strengthen the support for Chinese companies and the attraction of investments from this country, with a consultant designated for this purpose, Ms. Qiaoshan Xue.
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