Belarus offers a very interesting environment for IT. Its competitive advantages include a highly skilled workforce (Belarus has a long IT tradition and many IT universities), a mature ICT sector, low labour costs and an interesting taxation regime. The International Telecommunication Union and the United Nations ranked Belarus in 52nd position out of 152 in the 2011 ICT development index.
- Software development and outsourcing is a major part of Belarus IT sector, with over 80% of software exported, three-quarters going to Europe and the USA. Belarus has a leading position in the world for IT export revenue per capita. Belarusian IT exports grew from USD 20 million in 2005 to USD 215 million in 2011.
- The telecommunications sector in Belarus has already seen substantial foreign investment and acquisition but remains an emerging market with investment opportunities.
Strategic direction/ specific schemes and incentives
No ownership restrictions on IT firms, good legislative support in the IT sector.
“High Technology Park/ HTP Belarus”: a special tax regime and business environment for IT companies, including exemption of profit tax, real estate tax, VAT on the turnover of goods, offshore duty when paying dividends to the founders (participants), reduced income tax (9%), etc.
Business opportunities in IT sector and telecommunication go from R&D outsourcing to investment, for EU and Eastern countries:
Some success stories
Epam (USA) is a leading provider of offshore software engineering and outsourcing services in Central and Eastern Europe. With HQ in the USA, the company has today 7,300 employees and renders services to clients in North America, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, Hungary, Ukraine, Poland and Kazakhstan. Its main operation are in Belaurs and in other CIS countries. Its clients include companies such as Google, the London Stock Exchange, Reuters and Coca Cola. Epam Systems was the first company in Europe to receive the SEI CMM certificate (level 4). The company was also the first in Central and Eastern Europe to launch an IPO on the NASDAQ.
Intetics (USA) was founded in 1995 in Minsk focusing on software development services. Nowadays, Intetics operates as a business partner to over 200 enterprises globally helping its clients to build and manage professional teams in Easter Europe based on unique, proprietary approach of Remote In-Sourcing®. The company has three development centres in Belarus and Ukraine, headquarters in USA, and several representative offices in the European Union.
SAP (Germany) doubled its revenues in Belarus between 2007 and 2011 and announced it would double its number of employees in 2011.
HTC (Taiwan), currently the number one smartphone vendor in the USA, opened a R&D centre in Minsk in November 2011 with over 150 employees.
SaM Solutions (Belarus) is a software outsourcing company focusing primarily on IT consulting and offshore programming services for both US and European marketplaces. It was founded in 1993 by ten graduates of the Belarusian State University of Computer Science. SaM Solutions today has a staff of over 600 employees globally and is a leading IT company in Germany through its affiliate SaM SolutionsGmbH.