Meta’s looking to make Spain a key growth hub within the Metaverse shift, with the announcement of a new, 2,000 staff ‘Meta Lab’ in Madrid, where it will explore new ways for Europeans to connect with each other in the next stage of digital connectivity.
The new office space will provide ‘a flexible base for Meta’s remote workers in Spain with space for local tech entrepreneurs and small businesses start-ups’. So in line with changing approaches to workplace culture, the Meta Lab won’t require all staff to be in the office, as such, but it will provide a central home for the company in the region.
In addition to this, Meta is also working with Spanish telco Telefónica to establish a Metaverse Innovation Hub, which will be focused on accelerating ‘metaverse network and device readiness’.
As per Meta:
“Spain is at the forefront of European tech. The country benefits from having two strong tech hubs: Barcelona and Madrid, as well as newer centres in Valencia and Andalusia. Both are at the centre of the tech scene and attract entrepreneurs, talent and local and international investors. Spain is seeing record levels of investment in start-ups solving everything from online grocery delivery to neuroelectronics.”
As such, Meta sees the nation as a good fit for its future plans, with specific focus, as noted, on accelerating connectivity and adoption in Europe, and catering to local requirements.
Despite much hype, the Metaverse remains a long way off, especially in terms of the fully-integrated, AR/VR environment that Meta is aiming to introduce. It’ll take a lot of investment, in various forms, and a big push on broader tech adoption and integration, which will require Meta to branch out to different governments, in different regions, to facilitate upgrades and local partnerships.
Basing itself in Spain will give Meta a stronger EU presence - though it is interesting that Meta hasn’t gone for the nation with the lowest corporate tax rate, which is the usual big tech expansion MO.
But then again, Meta’s in-development subsea cable projects may also be a key consideration here - as reported by Reuters:
“Spain will become an important link for Meta's development in Europe as its two subsea cables connecting the region with the Americas and Africa will land in Spain and the company plans to build a data centre in Castile-La Mancha in central Spain.”
Spain could be a critical facilitation point, and by having a stronger local presence, that could help accelerate Metaverse adoption.
It’s an interesting expansion either way - Meta’s new Spanish projects will get underway shortly.