Spain, an attractive country for foreign investment
On 28 June, Espacio Bertelsmann hosted the presentation of the report ‘Positive Factors for Foreign Investment in Spain’, sponsored by HSBC Spain. At the presentation, a video was shown, ‘100 Reasons to Invest in Spain’, and the report’s main conclusions were made known. Some of the reasons that make the Spanish market attractive to foreign investment are its size (the Spanish economy has grown non-stop for the past four years) and 2.1% of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stock (sixth in the European Union). At present, Spain is home to over 12,000 branches of multinational companies, giving jobs to 1.3 million people.
Other positive factors are infrastructure development (second largest rail network among OECD countries; best motorway network in EU; third in terms of air traffic passenger volume in EU, etc.), talent generation and engagement (sixth in Europe in the percentage of STEM university graduates), capacity for innovation (fifth in entrepreneurship in Europe) and quality of life (leader in healthcare efficiency; longest life expectancy in Europe; leader in organ transplantation for the past 26 years).
Moreover, Spain is one of the most competitive OECD countries in terms of cost-benefit-risk analysis.
Figures at the event
The presentation was attended by the Spanish Minister of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Reyes Maroto, who delivered a speech on ‘Positive Factors for Foreign Investment’.
In her words, ‘foreign investment is one of the pillars of our country’s economic and social development’. Her Ministry, she added, would be an ally to companies, especially now that, in the aftermath of Brexit, Spain could become the gateway to Europe for investors from the Americas and other parts of the world.
The High Commissioner for Marca España, Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, was also present. He drew attention to the fact that, ‘in just a few years’, Spain had gone from a mere recipient of foreign investment to a source as well. In his view, the business environment is the key factor to attract foreign investment, including such aspects as country reliability, infrastructure, talent availability and repatriation of profits.
According to Adolfo Aguilar, Board Member at Foreign Multinationals for the Spain Brand, multinationals are ‘key actors to seize opportunities and tap Spain’s potential in an optimal investment climate.’
Mark Hall, CEO at HSBC Spain, and Xiana Méndez, Secretary of State for Trade, spoke along similar lines. ‘Spain has one of the most open economies to foreign investment,’ Ms Méndez said.
Strong, long-lasting brands
According to the National Registry of Foreign Investment, gross FDI in Spain grew by 22.2% in Q1 2018 as compared to Q1 2017, totalling 8410 million euro. On a net basis, it grew by 463.3%, totalling 6565 million, with Germany, China, Canada, Luxembourg and the Netherlands as main sources of foreign investment.
Conversely, Spanish brands are gaining importance at the international level. According to the Leading Brands of Spain Forum annual report 2017 and the Atlas of Leading Spanish Brands, the average international business of leading brands is 56.72%, and they are present in 53 countries.
Spain stands 19th out of 80 leading markets in the world according to the 2017 Best Countries report by Y&R’s BAV Group (a unit of WPP Group). The report says our country’s main assets are cultural heritage, history and outstanding gastronomy. According to the Brandz study ‘30 Most Valuable Spanish Brands 2017’, perceptions of a country are strongly tied to perceptions of associated brand. Therefore, in the case of Spain, the country’s reputation as a market ‘open to business’ has a significant impact on the global power of Spanish brands.
The Brandz study places Spain fifth among EU economies, with strong brands present at the global level: Zara, Mango, Manolo Blahnik, Santander, Telefónica, and many others.