ICT is a mark of Catalonia’s identity
GOVERNMENT OF CATALONIA – The Mobile World Congress will gather some 100.000 attendees in Barcelona from 22-25 February
The information and communications technology (ICT) sector in Catalonia has traditionally been of special importance, thanks to a strong consumer electronics presence, a highly competitive software development sector and being one of the biggest industrial clusters in Europe. Catalonia has always offered a dynamic ecosystem that now produces major initiatives applying mobile technologies to traditional activities.
Barcelona on the global mobile map
From 2012 to 2023 Barcelona will be the Mobile World Capital. This means that not only the international flagship mobile event will be held yearly here, the GSMA Mobile World Congress, but a whole range of activities and programmes all year around will create a dynamic professional ecosystem for the mobile and its satellite industries.This initiative has transformed Barcelona into the permanent global centre for mobile technologies, has involved the development of a business environment focused on this type of industry on an international level and has made Barcelona a global benchmark for mobile transformation.
Proof of this can be seen in the fact that Barcelona was named in 2014 as first European Capital of Innovation by the EU and is today considered to be the 4th Smart city in Europe and the 10th worldwide.
Markets and customers
Catalonia has traditionally always had a strong industrial sector, which has today become an eager mobile industry client: ICT, business solutions, retail and smart cities represent the sectors with which mobile companies more frequently work. Other important sectors include transport, health and public services. ICT is also closely related to activity in SMART cities, the Internet of Things, m-health, gaming, e-commerce, all of which are highly active sectors in Catalonia.
Top ICT companies are already successfully located in Barcelona. With 12,800 ICT companies at present, the number has been constantly growing since 2008. With a wide range of funding opportunities and an administration that actively supports this sector, interesting new business ideas rapidly find ways to become a reality in Catalonia.
Fueling this growth is the busy Catalan start-up environment, consisting of over 1,500 start-ups, figuring in the runner-up group of the Compass Start-up Ecosystem Ranking. As well, the European Digital City Initiative, puts Barcelona between the top cities in business environment, knowledge spillover and IT market.
With an ICT workforce of some 84,600 and a vigorous mix of consolidated companies and new business ventures, Catalonia has generated a large pool of highly skilled workers with Barcelona being the most competitive city in Europe in terms of IT salaries.
Accompanying this talent is an outstanding academic support system with more than 15,000 students in mobile-related studies at internationally renowned universities such as the UPC BarcelonaTech, ESADE or UPF.
Catalonia has received one-third of the FDI into Spanish mobile sector during the 2009-2015 period and is the 3rd Continental Western European region in terms of job creation in the ICT sector in 2015. With 56% of the R&D projects received in Spain since 2009, Catalonia has proven itself as one of the most interesting locations to establish these type of projects.
High-tech companies tend to cluster and require a good business environment. Home to almost 1 of every 5 Spanish ICT companies, Catalonia offers excellent opportunities for networking and interacting with other industry participants. In fact, 21% of technology companies established in Spain are located in Catalonia. It is not surprising then that Catalonia is home to large ICT clusters and technology parks. With the Eurecat Technology Centre of Catalonia or the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, Catalonia is very well positioned to foster technology transfer and collaboration between academia, industry, public administration.
- New sectors like e-commerce or digital gaming are growing thanks to its business advantages and to the projects taking place in Barcelona as a result of the city being Mobile World Capital.
- Barcelona counts on an important number of HQ and sales offices thanks to its privileged location, specially for South American and Southern European markets. Office prices are considerably more competitive than in other European locations. This, combined with with a skilled workforce, makes the Catalan capital an excellent location to install Headquarters for the mobile and ICT sectors.
- Barcelona and other main Catalan cities are incorporating Digital Governance into their political agendas, thus opening a new business opportunity for ITC/Mobile companies. Local governments often entrust start-up companies with challenges derived from these new changes in governance.
- The mobile sector can take advantages of synergies with other dynamic technological sectors in Catalonia, such SMART cities, the Internet of Things, mHealth, Gaming, eCommerce, among others.