Economia e Inovação
The rebalancing of the global economy and the transition to a multipolar world, with the emergence of large economies, has strengthened the economy of Portugal and Lisboa and its role in the modern world, mostly owing to its privileged Atlantic location and its potential for building close trade relations with the American, African and Asian continents.
This potential has translated, from the outset, into a huge investment in Portuguese-speaking countries.
In this context, it is important to underline the close ties with Brazil and Angola (two global economic powerhouses), which resulted in the establishment of large company subsidiaries in Lisboa, namely TVGlobo, Embraer, Technip, Sonangol and BIC.
The aforementioned trend is also evidenced by the city’s ability to attract investment from emerging economies, namely Huawei (China), PSA Singapore and Samsung (South Korea). In this sense, it is of the utmost importance for the city to adjust and take the best advantage of this economic power shift to the East.
The growing importance of Nearshoring, i.e. the practice by Multinationals of transferring business operations to nearby markets/developed regions, represents a huge opportunity for Lisboa’s economy, given the city’s strategic location and competitive advantages, mostly leveraged by qualified professionals.
In fact, several multinationals have chosen the Lisboa region to establish their research and competence centres (Nokia Siemens Networks, Cisco Systems, SAP and Xerox, amongst others). This area of activity also includes Shared Service Centres (SSC).
As an investment, corporate and metropolitan hub, both on metropolitan and regional scales, Lisboa is ideally positioned to lead this trend.
Lisboa is increasingly affirming itself as a Shared Service Centre (SSC) hub where global companies can establish subsidiaries engaged in the remote provision of a wide range of services (financial/accounting services; customer service and management; human resource management and training; and operation/service maintenance, amongst others).
These activities represent a wealth of opportunities, given the numerous interactions with corporate activities and/or services across the globe and the possibility of providing value-added services that generate qualified employment.
The establishment in Lisboa of several types of SSCs by multinational companies, namely Fujitsu (which has installed one of its three SSCs in the Colombo Tower, as part of an international project named Follow the Sun, which explores the different time zones of three different continents), Axa France (which established its European training centre in Lisboa), Barclays Bank and BNP Paribas, represents an unequivocal sign of Lisboa’s huge potential in this area.
The Portuguese capital has the potential to become a privileged location for the establishment of regional or European head offices by multinationals.
The case of TV Globo, which recently opened its European head office in Lisboa, reflects the potential of the city to attract multinationals, particularly companies from Portuguese-speaking countries and other emerging economies, which see Lisboa and Portugal as a gateway to Europe and an ideal location to implement their expansion and internationalisation strategies.
Dialogue with a significant number of real estate agencies specialised in commercial property/office space has evidenced the current attractiveness and potential of Lisboa’s riverfront as a prime location for businesses from various economic sectors.
The area is found to be particularly suited to leisure, cultural and sportive activities, as well as an ideal location for a wide range of recreational facilities and tourist attractions, namely monuments, museums, restaurants, bars, terraces and other leisurely areas.
Lisboa (city and metropolitan area) has proved very attractive for the establishment of ITC businesses, including software, Internet, media and audio-visual companies.
As most ITC activities in Portugal are based in Lisboa, this sector affords a wealth of important opportunities, not only as a result of its highly technological nature, but also to the role it plays in the cultural and creative industries.
This trend is evidenced by the recent establishment in Lisboa of companies such as Google, TV Globo, FOX International, Fujitsu and Huawey, which have now joined companies already with a solid presence or expanding its operations in the city, namely IBM, Vodafone, Sonaecom, ZON, Portugal Telecom and Microsoft, amongst others.
Based on high-tech solutions and advanced know-how, the health and wellness sector plays a key role in the city’s future.
The future growth of this sector evidences the need for Lisboa (and Portugal...) to be capable of thinking and acting on multiple time horizons.
As a research and development hub where some major R&D facilities operate, namely the Champalimaud Foundation Centre for the Unknown, and several pharmaceutical companies have established subsidiaries in the last 12 months, namely PPD, Bial and Hovione (the latter two on the IAPMEI Campus), Lisboa boasts huge potential for health and wellness sector development.
On a longer timescale, the profound transformation Lisboa is currently undergoing in what concerns its hospitals, with the closing of old hospitals in the city centre and the opening of a large central hospital boasting clinical research facilities and a higher education establishment, should be perceived as an opportunity to turn the city into an international player within the health sector.
The new public hospital is expected to attract a wide range of companies and research institutions operating in several areas (pharma, biotechnology, pharmacogenomics, medical equipment and instrumentation and healthcare clinics, amongst others).
In this sense, the new Lisboa Central Hospital may become much more than just another hospital.
Despite the organisational changes witnessed in recent years, namely the emergence of large back-office infrastructures and data centres, which involve an extensive use of space, the financial sector continues to have a significant weight in the city and to attract multinationals wishing to expand their activities, namely Barclays, AXA France, BNP Paribas, Lyoness and Banco do Brasil.