MáLAGA – Since Phoenicians settled here, Málaga has had thousands of faces. The city, which has been closely linked to tourism for years, now wants to develop into a technological benchmark at the European level. In other words: Malaga wants to be the Spanish Silicon Valley.
The capital of the Costa del Sol not only wants to be that but is already well on its way. It has succeeded in convincing companies such as Google and Vodafone. Consequently they set up part of their European headquarters in the city. Together with other big names such as Oracle and Huawei, Picasso’s birthplace is also well on its way to becoming a Spanish Silicon Valley. In the past four years, more than 60 companies in the technology sector have settled in Malaga.
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In the first half of 2022, 16 new international companies have been established and plan to create 1,135 jobs. This is evident from data from the City Council’s Promotion of the City and Investment Attraction department.
On its website, the municipality states: “The most notable aspects are the Malaga TechPark (PTA), the University of Malaga (UMA), several Smart City pilot projects, investments in research and development of high-speed trains and the support structure for entrepreneurs”. The Open4Business portal also influences by trying to attract new business talent to the city. Names like Google, IBM, Vodafone or Siemens are on the map of the local technology sector.
Google spearheading an upward trend
The latest milestone in this regard comes from tech giant Google. In May 2023, it will open its European flagship cybersecurity centre in the Andalucian city. This Google Safety Engineering Centre (GSEC) will be the third on the continent, together with Dublin and Munich. According to the company, it is part of its $10 billion investment “to strengthen global cybersecurity and counter future threats.”
The tech giant had opened offices in Madrid, where they inaugurated their Cloud Region this year, and Barcelona, where they also had offices last June. Nevertheless, the capital of the Costa del Sol has become the ideal option for this cyber security centre.
Malaga born entrepreneur
The driving force behind this initiative is ‘Malagueño’ Bernardo Quintero. He founded his company VirusTotal in 2004. Now, as Quintero points out in Huffpost, it has evolved into the world’s leading crowdsourced threat intelligence platform. “VirusTotal tools help millions of people in the research, public, and commercial sectors understand malware and cybersecurity trends. We provide a search engine of sorts for malware samples, domains, and behaviour patterns of the threat authors.” As of 2012, Quintero joined Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG). Furthermore, VirusTotal was the first cybersecurity team to join Google X in 2015. Currently, the VirusTotal team is part of the Google Cloud cybersecurity portfolio.
Google’s choice of Malaga does not stand alone. Vodafone also decided in 2021 not to locate its new technology development centre in a major European capital. Instead, the tech company opted for the capital of the Costa del Sol. Vodafone motivated that decision with arguments that went beyond purely economic ones. “The lifestyle, availability of talent with the necessary technical knowledge, working conditions, transportation, government subsidies or attractiveness of the location for talent”, were some of the reasons they stated.
Malaga Valley is attractive to “live, invest and work”
According to Forbes magazine, Málaga ranks 10th in “living, investing and working” in all of Europe, due to the quality of life, the beaches, the climate or the “openness” of its inhabitants. The new ecosystem of tech companies, talent, startups and supporting government initiatives has been dubbed Malaga Valley.