Report: Catalonia’s industrially based and tech-focused Digital Economy make it a European tech haven

Catalan Economy

01 Mar 2022

With Barcelona as the world’s best tech non-capital city, and Catalonia as a whole being the 2nd favorite EU hub for founders for setting up a startup, Catalonia’s wide-ranging digital economy creates the perfect environment for any tech-based company.

Especially considering it will join a network of more than 19,000 companies related to the ICT and digital sector, according to the report The Digital Economy in Catalonia by Catalonia Tarde & Investment.

Companies such as Microsoft, PepsiCo, Nestlé, HP, and Porsche Digital have their Digital Innovation Hubs and operations centers in Catalonia. In fact, 34 of the 50 leading global innovative companies are present in Catalonia.

Furthermore, the presence of many renowned international tech events, prestigious R&D centers supporting tech transfer, clusters, and universities means we can safely say that digital is booming in Catalonia.

And the numbers are there to prove it. The digital sector, with a combined turnover of more than €29,000M, now represents 13.2% of Catalan GDP. In fact, turnover of the ICT sector has increased by 8.2% compared to 2020 and by 31.0% in the last 5 years.

Not to mention that the number of companies in the ICT sector in Catalonia has increased 12% in the last 5 years, above the Spanish average.

It’s noteworthy that, despite representing some 16% of Spain’s population, it is home to 22.2% of all ICT companies and 18.5% of workers within Spain as a whole.

Foreign investment

Internationally, Catalonia is well on the tech investment radar. FDI in this sector represented 37.2% of Catalonia’s total foreign investment projects from 2017 to 2021.

And in 2021, it represented 36.0% of total foreign investments projects in Catalonia with the main countries of origin – by number of projects and capital invested – being the United States, Germany, and France.

The sector has also been able to ride out the pandemic fairly buoyantly given that in 2021, 66 projects were carried out, a 20.0% increase over 2020, with a total investment of €805.5M, with 3,490 jobs being created, 16.3% more than in 2020.

Given all of the above, it is perhaps no surprise that, according to the Financial Times fDi Strategy Awards, Catalonia is today the 1st best large European region of the future 2022/23.

Download the report The Digital Economy in Catalonia

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