According to the Agency for Business Competitiveness (ACCIÓ, part of the Ministry of Business and Knowledge), there are currently 1369 foreign tech companies in Catalonia (2019 data), 21% more than in 2018. This figure was announced by ACCIÓ chief executive Joan Romero today following a meeting with the president of 22@Network BCN, Xavier Monzó, aimed at strengthening Catalonia’s international position as an innovation hub for technology companies.
Most of the 1369 foreign companies operate in ICT, industry 4.0, biotechnology, electronics, health and medical equipment, smart cities, digital and audiovisual content, mobile technology, video games and R&D. The top countries of origin are the United States (22%), Germany (18%), France (14%) and the United Kingdom (14%).
ACCIÓ chief executive Joan Romero said: “There are many factors that make Catalonia an attractive destination for foreign technology investment, and one of the most important is the availability of talent.”
According to Romero, another factor that makes foreign technology companies opt to invest in Catalonia is “the dynamism of the entire start-up ecosystem. The 1,500 start-ups we have in Catalonia are a major source of open innovation. Nowadays, big corporations don’t have full capacity to innovate internally and instead look for partners, such as start-ups, to carry out these processes.”
More investment and more jobs
According to data from the online database fDi Markets, foreign investment in the tech field totalled €493 million in 2019, an increase of 18% over the previous year. These investment projects led to the creation of 4185 jobs, 24.3% more than in 2018.
Catalonia’s position in the world
Barcelona is currently considered the best non-capital tech city in the world (Tech Cities, Savills Index, 2019). Catalonia has an ecosystem of over 1500 start-ups (38% more than three years ago) that employ nearly 17,000 people (19% of whom are foreigners). Based on the perception of start-up founders, Barcelona ranks third in Europe as a start-up hub (Startup Heatmap Europe, 2019).
The Catalan government provides support to companies around the world that are interested in setting up in Catalonia through Catalonia Trade & Investment, the ACCIÓ unit tasked with attracting foreign investment. Catalonia Trade & Investment is based in Barcelona and has a network of 40 foreign trade and investment offices worldwide that work to attract new foreign investment projects to Catalonia, as well as providing foreign companies with comprehensive advice to facilitate the investment process.