Business 13/09/2021

Microsoft opens AI centre in Barcelona with 30 staff

The hub will carry out solution to better web experience and hopes to employ over 100 people

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BarcelonaMultinational software company Microsoft has chosen Catalonia to set up a new base for its R&D operations. The company announced in a statement on Monday that it will open a centre in the Catalan capital focused on the application of artificial intelligence to improving web user experience. This initiative will initially have a team of 30 people, mainly engineers specialised in this new field of technology, as well as in the areas of machine learning and deep learning. The facility will be part of a network of eight research centres located around the world in Microsoft's web experience division.

In fact, behind this investment is a Catalan, Jordi Ribas, who is the corporate vice president in charge of research and artificial intelligence for the company, and will run the new offices. "I feel fortunate to announce the development of this R&D hub in Spain. After creating the hubs in London, Munich and Paris and having had the chance to learn first-hand about the requirements, needs and, above all, the opportunities to attract talent, I am convinced that implementing this hub in Spain will add a lot of value to Microsoft's global brand," said the Catalan executive.

Although the team will initially comprise 30 workers, the company's long-term goal is for it to exceed 100. The announcement has also been applauded by all three levels of government interested in seeing new high-tech research centres deployed in Barcelona. "The Spanish government is promoting an ambitious digital agenda, supported by the recovery plan, which is already mobilising investment in the most promising sectors," said the executive's economic vice-president, Nadia Calviño.

In turn, the Catalan vice-president and minister of Territory and Digital Policies, Jordi Puigneró, set aside the intensity of the negotiations for the expansion of El Prat to claim that Catalonia "has the capacity to lead the development of artificial intelligence in Europe". He assured that Catalonia has already become a technological hub in this area and that Microsoft's announcement reinforces a strategy that has also been led by the Catalan government. Finally, the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, said that the group's choice of the city confirms that the city is "one of the best in the world to live and work in". "Companies that want to attract the best talent know that it is easier for them if they are in Barcelona", she remarked.