best FDI region in Europe

There are over 9,250 world-leading companies that are expanding their operations or establishing new R&D hubs in Catalonia.

Contact Catalonia Trade & Investment

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 9,255 subsidiaries of foreign companies confirm the attractiveness of the area for doing business. This number represents an increase of 62% compared to the foreign subsidiaries identified one decade before.

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 the United States (15%), France (14%), Germany (12%), the United Kingdom (10%), and Italy (8%). The growth of subsidiaries from the United States (with an increase of 15% over the previous year), Japan (12%), Singapore (8%) and China (0.5%) also stands out. Companies from 90 different countries are located in Catalonia.

By sectors, the foreign subsidiaries established in Catalonia are dedicated to the automotive sector (16%), food (14%), chemical (12%), pharmaceutical (7.5%), and ICT (4%), in terms of turnover.

The Financial Times recognizes 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 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 8th most attractive city in the world to work in (BCG, 2024)

  • No 1

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

  • 7th in the world

    Barcelona is the 7th most attractive global city (KPMG, 2022)

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