Spanish Industries: A World Power

Spanish Industries: A World Power

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Despite the undeniable and many problems in the country of Spain, like needing a new economic model and having over 20% of unemployment, Spain has much to be proud. They are leaders in many different industries like olive oil, leather, renewable energy, desalinization and sports. The country ranks globally as well in sectors such as air transport, infrastructure development, tourism, banking, textiles, civil engineering, medical technology and aerospace, agribusiness and hospitality.


Renewable Energy

First, renewable energy is a market vastly improving. Spain is the fourth country with installed wind capacity in the world, only behind China, the United States and Germany, and the largest producer of wind power across Europe. Spain is also an exporter of equipment, services and technology related to this sector and has attracted a number of foreign investments. There are industrial companies such as Gamesa, the second world producer of wind turbines, and Iberdrola Renewables, the leading developer of wind farms in the world. For example, the United States accounts for one third of Iberdrola Renewables turnover.

When it comes to photovoltaics, Spain is the second leading country in Europe with photovoltaic power, Germany being the country that leads the list. In 2010 the installation market outside Spain grew by over 130%. In 2010 the photovoltaic industry exported more than 70% of its production. The leaders of all renewable energy in the world, according to the accumulated power, are Europe (most notably Germany and Spain, with more than 50% of world total), Japan and the United States. Also, Spain is a world power in solar thermal energy and has recently been positioned as the first in the world in production leaving the United States second. The conditions are very favorable country to install solar thermal plants, because it has abundant sunshine and large desert areas.


Aeronautics Technology

The high-speed train (AVE) is not the only means of transport where Spanish companies have carved a niche in the world. Three out of five flights in the world are controlled by Spanish systems of navigation, making them one of the first countries in the world in this technology. Indra is a world leader in high technology products such as three-dimensional radars, simulators, control systems, air traffic, and satellite communications. Another Spanish company GMV is a global leader in satellite control centers of telecommunications.


Health Technology

Spain has become one of the European countries most health technology exports. The keys to success of the Spanish label products have a lot to do with the heavy investment in R&D each year performing health technology firms, resulting in many new solutions. Grifols, a Spanish multinational specializing in the pharmaceutical and hospital industry, is the world leader in blood products, diagnostic systems and medical equipment. It has 77% of foreign sales, and in crisis just bought one of his main rivals to become the third largest manufacturer. The European Union and the United States are currently the largest recipient of Spanish products (75% of exports), but its presence in emerging markets (China, Middle East and Latin America) going through the roof.


Water Treatment and Desalination

Spain is next to Saudi Arabia as the largest power in desalination and water treatment technologies, and is the largest producer of desalinated water in Europe and America. There are several companies in the industry that are bringing in technology throughout the world. The most important of these is Spanish companies Acciona Agua, which has won countless awards such as  ”Best Water Company in the World” according to Global Water Intelligence.


Acciona Agua is a world leader in seawater desalination by reverse osmosis. It has built over 70 desalination plants, whose total production supplies more than 5 million people, with plants in the United States, UK, Italy, Peru, Cape Verde, Algeria and UAE. Furthermore, a desalination plant just opened in London and will supply drinking water to a million people, and one in Florida built two years ago is the largest of the United States.



Tourism is the main source of income for the Spanish economy, and places Spain as the second country after the United States in tourism revenues, and ahead of France, Italy, China and Germany. On the other hand, it is the fourth country in the world that receives more tourists after France, the United States and China. Also good for tourists coming to Spain is that client loyalty, 80% of those who come, repeat.


Food Sector

In the economic crisis, Spain has managed to match Italy’s second largest producer of wine, behind France. Spain is the biggest exporter of olive oil in the world (accounts for 50% of the European Union and 35% of world production) and also stands out among the first countries in the development of technologies for improving crop. It is also the world’s fourth largest ham or jamón industry after China, the United States and Germany.


In recent years, innovation in catering services has placed Spain as the fifth country in number of Michelin stars (for restaurants), behind France, Japan, Germany and Italy. Spain is also on the list of the top 50 restaurants in the world, and in 2011 placed three of its restaurants in the world top-10.


Distribution and Fashion

A total of three Spanish companies are among the 50 largest retailers in the world including Inditex, Mercadona and El Corte Inglés.



Beyond the borders of Spain, one of the earliest references to the country would be about the excellent level of athletics. Spain is one of the two or three major world powers, talk about football, basketball, tennis, cycling, football and motor sports. In soccer, Spain holds the top spot in FIFA rankings and is the current World Champion, unanimously considered as the most powerful in soccer today. Also, Barcelona and Real Madrid are arguably the two teams on the planet with the greatest impact sports, economic and social development. In basketball, Spain has consolidated over the last decade as the second largest world power (after the United States of course) and the best European team. Without going any further in the last five years the basketball team has a World Cup, two victories in the Eurobasket and an Olympic silver medal. Other notable sports are tennis, with Rafael Nadal and cycling.


Life Expectancy

According to the latest study by the OECD Spanish women are the second longest-lived of the planet with an average life expectancy of 84.9 years, surpassed only by Japan (86.4 years). Also counting men attributing to the whole population, Spain is second only to Japan and Switzerland, being the third largest life expectancy of the planet. Pretty neat!

(All facts were taken from En que sectores es España una Potencia, a blog we went over in my Spanish for business class).