News article

Take a look at Catalonia

This world location news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Last year Catalonia attracted €146 million from the EU’s 7FP and €529 million since 2007.

Catalonia has 7.5 million inhabitants -16% of the total Spanish population - and contributes 19% to Spanish Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Barcelona is its largest city.

Nearly 14.5 million foreign tourists visited Catalonia last year, and the resident foreign population is over 1 million people, mainly coming from other regions in Europe (30.9%).

The region has active regional government policies to promote innovation with 21% of Spanish investment on research and development (R&D) and 33.7% of its patents. Last year Catalonia attracted €146 millions from the EU’s 7FP, and €529 million since 2007.

Doing business in Catalonia

Good sector opportunities from Catalonia

Catalonia boasts a very important life sciences sector

There is a clear opportunity for UK companies in the Biotech sector to either partner with Catalan companies to share portfolio and R&D or to use local distributors to access the opportunities in the region.

  • BioCat (Catalunya BioRegion) is home to over 350 companies, including some of the strongest in the pharmaceutical sector, both ´home grown´ and international.

  • 60% of Spanish pharmaceutical companies are located in Barcelona

  • there are 9 science and technology parks, 12 universities, 400 research centres carrying out research related to life sciences and over 200 hospitals.

  • the region is home to Grifols, a developer of products based on blood plasma listed on the IBEX35 index, and to the international pharmaceutical company Almirall.

CT industry generates 20% of the Spanish turnover in this sector

Catalonia has 3,349 ICT companies and almost 70% of them are located in the province of Barcelona. The high capacity, security and reach of ICT infrastructure available together with the strategic geographic location of the city have helped Barcelona to be nominated as Mobile World Capital until 2018.

The region also hosts the SECPhO and ALBA, the new-generation Spanish Synchrotron Radiation Facility, making it one of the most strategic locations in Southern Europe for Research and Development activities.

Barcelona is an important centre for creative industries

Strengths in design including textile, industrial design and architecture, and associations such as FAD and BCD, with strategic areas applied, for example, to smart cities. IT based media including software, television, radio and advertising also plays a powerful role, with stakeholders like MediaPro, the co-producer of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.

Catalonia has a strong industrial base

Sectors like automotive (Nissan and Volkswagen-Seat), textile, construction and industrial metal have a big presence.

Catalonia is home, amongst others, to Abertis, the European leader in infrastructure management and Agbar, multinational company expert in water management solutions and technology.

Waste management and Energy sectors are well developed

Some representatives are Tradebe, a Spanish multinational or Ros Roca, which operates in the UK under the brand Dennis Eagle.

The headquarters of Fusion for Energy, the European Union’s Joint Undertaking for ITER, are based in Barcelona as well. ITER is the world’s largest scientific partnership that aims to demonstrate fusion as a viable and sustainable source of energy, and it brings together seven parties that represent half of the world’s population – the EU, Russia, Japan, China, India, South Korea and the United States.

Barcelona hosts several key international fairs

  • BioCat (Catalunya BioRegion) is home to over 350 companies, including some of the strongest in the pharmaceutical sector, both ´home grown´ and international.

  • 60% of Spanish pharmaceutical companies are located in Barcelona

  • there are 9 science and technology parks, 12 universities, 400 research centres carrying out research related to life sciences and over 200 hospitals.

  • the region is home to Grifols, a developer of products based on blood plasma listed on the IBEX35 index, and to the international pharmaceutical company Almirall.

Colt in Spain