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FC Barcelona is taking advantage of its pre-season tour of Japan to put the Barça brand and its media-attractiveness at the service of Barcelona and Catalonia, as one of the finest ambassadors for the country’s international expansion. Marta Plana, head of the Barça Innovation Hub (BIHUB), has participated in an event in Tokyo organised jointly by the club, the Government of Catalonia and Barcelona City Council to present the many attractions of Catalonia as a destination for Japanese investment.
The event, titled Barcelona Catalonia Talks. Business and Barça, welcomed thirty senior executives from Japanese companies in such varied sectors as pharmaceuticals and life sciences, industrial technologies, video games, food and beverages, printing, and others.
It was also attended by the Minister of Enterprise and Knowledge, Àngels Chacón, the delegate councillor of ACCIÓ - Ministry of Enterprise and Knowledge’s agency for corporate competitiveness, Joan Romero, and the director of the ACCIÓ Foreign Trade and Investment Office in Tokyo, Yuko Kijimoto.
The event is part of the extensive agenda of institutional and social events planned for the FC Barcelona Japan Tour 2019 Presented by Rakuten, which aims to boost the club’s commercial and brand strategies on the level global, in addition to developing its social commitment, part of the Barça identity that it channels through its Foundation.
Trade relations between Catalonia and Japan
According to ACCIÓ data, Japan is currently the Asian country with the most companies established in Catalonia, 254. The main Japanese sectors that have invested in Catalonia in the last five years are vehicles (47.9% of the total), ICT services (17.9%) and trade (11.2%).
In turn, in 2018 exports from Catalonia to Japan totalled almost 850 million euros, while more than 2,600 Catalan companies export to this market. Precisely to promote the internationalisation of Catalan companies in Japan, ACCIÓ opened its first Foreign Trade and Investment Office in 1988.
Statement by Marta Plana, FC Barcelona board member and head of the Barça Innovation Hub
“Japan is a country and market of special interest to us. We have six million fans in Japan, making it our 5th biggest Asian market in terms of supporters. In fact, the Asia Pacific region is the geographic area where we have most fans in the world, more than 100 million. To put this into context, if the Barça fans in the Asia Pacific were a country, we would be the 12th largest in the world”. Plana stressed that “at the commercial level, in Japan we have three very special partners: Rakuten, Konami and Nichiban; which represent 33% of our income from sponsorship”.
Statement by Àngels Chacón, Councilor for Enterprise and Knowledge
“Catalonia is a very attractive destination for investment by Asian companies. In fact, Japan is the second biggest non-European investor in Catalonia, and its investment has doubled in the last five years to 448.8 million euros. Catalonia, Barcelona, Futbol Club Barcelona and Japan share values such as hard work, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. Common values that help us build a framework for institutional and economic cooperation between both territories”.
Statement by Lluís Gómez, Commissioner for Enterprise, Economic Promotion and Innovation of Barcelona City Council,
“This collaboration between FC Barcelona, the Generalitat and Barcelona City Council is very important to promote our country and our city on a cultural and sporting level, and above all to demonstrate a lesser-known aspect of Barcelona, which is the city’s powerful capacity for business, innovation and technological transformation”.
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