Business in Barcelona


  • Number of businesses in the province of Barcelona: over 490,000 (14% Spanish)

  • Number of new businesses in 2012 in the province of Barcelona: 233,633

  • Number of tourists annually: over 7 million (7.44 million in 2012) (33% for professional reasons)

  • Fira de Barcelona (trade show organisation) organises 70 trade shows per year that bring together over 30,000 companies and convene 2.5 million visitors


With a longstanding industrial tradition and a dense business culture, Barcelona has a highly diverse economic structure.

The most traditional industries coexist with new emerging industries, thus enabling the creation of new knowledge clusters that prioritise specialisation and competitiveness, are focused on internationalisation and contribute to the city’s dynamic, innovative economy.

The fact that Barcelona was named Mobile World Capital until 2018 and the project Barcelona Smart City are proof of this coexistence.

Furthermore, British newspaper Wired has named Barcelona as the European Start-Up Capital 2014, an information that the Canadian La Presse also highlights: "In Barcelona, start-ups have become major economic forces".


Barcelona in rankings

  • Best European city in quality of life for 14 years (Cushman & Wakefield’s European Cities Monitor) and ranked 5th worldwide according to the State of World’s Cities 2012-2013 developed by UN-Habitat, only trailing Tokyo, Stockholm, Paris and Oslo.
  • 2nd best city in Spain for shopping.
  • 4th world capital in terms of business perspectives (with a entrepreneurial activity rate that grew by 1.5% last year and currently stands at 7%, ahead of France, Finland and Switzerland [Global Entrepreneurship Monitor]).
  • 5th best city to host congresses and professional gatherings in the ranking by the ICCA (International Congress & Convention Association).
  • 5th city in Europe in number of international tourists and 20th in the world. The Port of Barcelona is the 4th port in the world and the 1st in Europe in number of cruise passengers, and the airport ranks 9th in Europe in number of passengers.
  • 10th city in the world in scientific output.
  • 12th in number of foreign investment projects (KPMG Global Cities Investment Monitor), with investments totalling approximately 2.7 billion according to the Financial Times’ fDi Markets.
  • 13th in global competitiveness.


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business in barcelona