Government attracted €322m of foreign investment in 2018

Some 84 funding projects created record number of 5,455 new jobs, some 70% more than previous year


Quim Torra with the global director of Technology and Innovation of NTT Data, Tsuyoshi Kitani. (Photo: Ana Amat Vendrell)
Quim Torra with the global director of Technology and Innovation of NTT Data, Tsuyoshi Kitani. (Photo: Ana Amat Vendrell) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

June 6, 2019 06:36 PM

Foreign investment brought into Catalonia by the government through its ACCIÓ business promotion agency amounted to 322 million euros in 2018, some 34% more than the year before, said business minister Àngels Chacon on Thursday.

Chacon said that ACCIÓ carried out 84 foreign investment projects last year, 20% more than in 2017, creating 5,455 new jobs, 70% more than the year before. The former is the second best result in the past five years, while for the latter it is best figure ever.

According to the head of ACCIÓ, Joan Romero, half of all such funding projects in the country went through the business agency, with the jobs created by the new investment making up 7.2% of all new positions in Catalonia last year.

Moreover, some 63% of the jobs were for highly-qualified positions in such areas as research or IT, while Chacon pointed out that if the jobs that are also indirectly created by the new positions are counted, the total increases to 6,724.

The United States is the main country of origin for the foreign investment, accounting for 24% of the projects, followed by Japan, with 14%. A quarter of the projects attracting the investment were related to the industrial sector.   

As for the type of investment, 39% of the projects brought new funding for companies already established in Catalonia, with 37% of the investment going to firms that are new to the country. There are currently 8,642 foreign companies registered in Catalonia.

For instance NTT Data, a subsidiary of Japan's largest IT firm, NTT, officially opened its first European artificial intelligence (AI) center in Barcelona in May, after the involvement of the Catalan government.

Overall investments in 2018

Overall, Catalonia attracted a little short of 3 billion euros of overseas investment last year – a decrease of 11.7% compared with 2017, and the lowest amount since 2012.

A total of 2.97 billion euros came into Catalan businesses from outside Spain in 2018, according to Spanish government data released in March.