Report: The ICT sector in Barcelona-Catalonia, onwards and upwards

Catalan Economy

22 Jun 2021

Over recent years, the Catalan ICT sector has undergone steady growth. According to the study The ICT industry in Catalonia by Catalonia Trade & Investment, it has grown by 17% since 2016, 2.3% alone in 2020, with today 16,711 companies working in this field.

With a total workforce of 129,000, the sector creates employment for 3.9% of the working population in Catalonia, well above the Spanish average of 2.8%. At the same, Catalonia, disproportionally to its size, also is home to 22.1% of all ICT companies within Spain as a whole.

The ICT sector turnover has grown 5.5% over the last year and has reached a figure of €19,325M.

An ecosystem supporting the ICT industry

But Catalonia not only stands out in Spain as a leading ICT centre. Globally it has made its mark in ICT thanks to its significant tech support structure, with technology fairs such as the Mobile World Congress, the Smart City Expo World Congress, 4 Years From Now (4YFN), and the IOT Solutions World Congress all positioning Barcelona and Catalonia as an international reference in the field of digital innovation.

Its strategic location, as a gateway to Europe and also positioned to easily reach North Africa, not to mention a language affinity with South America, has also helped position the region as a significant tech hub. Furthermore, it is also home to significant ICT associations, technologically focused higher education centres and powerful ICT clusters.

And as southern Europe’s leading startup hub, it ranks fifth globally as a preferred work destination for digital experts, making it an excellent place to today source both local and international digital talent for ICT projects.

In 2019 it was named the top worldwide non-capital tech city; the same year Catalonia became Europe’s 1st open 5G laboratory. Furthermore, the Financial Times in 2020 declared Catalonia and Barcelona to have the 2nd best strategy in all of Europe to attract technological investments.

A leading destination for tech investments

In fact, technological investments represent 34% of the total number of foreign investment projects in Catalonia in the period 2016-2020, which ranks 7th in Western Europe for tech investment projects.

In the same period, Catalonia attracted 262 technological foreign investment projects, a 63.8% increase over the previous 5-year timeframe. It also showed a 63% increase in tech employment, with a total of 14,931 jobs created between 2016-2020. And only in 2020 it attracted investment for 50 technology projects, 35.7% of the total number.

Among the top 20 tech companies investing in Catalonia from 2016 to 2020 we can find Siemens, Amazon, Ubisoft, Ficosa, Criteo, Volkswagen-Seat or Hewlett-Packard.

Download the full report on The ICT industry in Catalonia.

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