The Asian presence in Catalonia goes back to the last third of the 19thcentury when a small group of Filipinos lived in Barcelona. Apart from a few isolated incidents, the Asian presence was not really visible to the general society until the second half of the 90s when, on par with the global trend of foreign immigrants, their number increased significantly. From the end of 1996 until June 2004, for example, the Asian population in Catalonia increased threefold. However, if you count those actually coming from Asia there are only 99.454 people out of a total of 1.097.966 immigrants living in Catalonia, almost 10 per cent of the whole (IDESCAT, 2008). Even with these figures, it is not easy to determine the exact number of immigrants in Catalonia as the statistics published by the official sources do not take into account the anomalous situation of many immigrants.
The Chinese, the Pakistani, the Indian and the Philippine (in this order) are the most numerous communities and those that have significant establishments.