The history of information technology in Belarus goes back decades. Strong educational traditions in mathematics engineering and software were established in the country back in the Soviet times. These professionals would become the driving force behind the most advanced projects and innovations in the country.
Continuing the tradition, almost a quarter of Belarusian university students currently major in STEM, including about 70 IT specialties. It is no secret that many Belarusians work in big tech companies all over the world. But, of course, the main personnel pool is concentrated in the country.
In sovereign Belarus, the IT has been the fastest growing industry. It has been steadily turning into the main driver of economic growth, the powerhouse of strategic importance. Set up in 2005, the Hi-Tech Park (HTP) has matured into the Belarusian Silicon Valley. Thanks to the principle of extraterritoriality its resident companies can open offices in any locality of the country.
Belarus, the HTP and its resident companies rank high on the global and regional rankings assessing the IT achievements. Software from Belarus often makes headlines in the IT world.
Figures and Facts
Belarus ranked 32nd on the International Telecommunication Union Measuring Information Society Report in 2017.
The information and communication technology sector generated 6.2% of Belarus’ GDP in 2019. Belarus has set out to increase the share of the ICT sector to 7.5% of GDP by 2025.
Belarus is one of the world’s major exporters of IT services per capita. From 2005 to 2016, the export of IT services and products increased 30-fold, and the share of IT export rose from 0.16% to 3.25% of the country’s total exports of goods and services.
In 2017, the HTP hit the milestone export mark of $1 billion. That year the export amounted to $1.025 billion, going up by 25% ($820 million in 2016) while import of services totaled $5 million. The HTP reported the output of Br2.153 billion (more than $1.08 billion), up by 20% over 2016. In 2019, the Hi-Tech Park hit another export milestone of $2.195 billion, up 55% year-on-year. The export of Belarus' Hi-Tech Park exceeded $2.7 billion in 2020 to account for more than 20% of Belarus’ export of services.
Belarusian IT companies sell mostly internationally. More than 90% of the software produced in the Belarusian HTP is bound for export: 49.1% - to Europe, 44% - to the United States and Canada, 4.1% - to Russia and other CIS countries.
Six HTP resident companies were included in the list of the best outsourcing service providers (2017 Global Outsourcing 100): Bell Integrator, Ciklum, EPAM, IBA Group, Intetics and Itransition.
Ten companies having offices in Belarus made it to the Software 500 revenue-based ranking of the world’s largest software and services suppliers: EPAM (107), Bell Integrator (281), IBA (281), Itransition (368), Coherent Solutions (393), SoftClub (409), Artezio (416), Intetics (419), Oxagile (456), IHS (482).
Belarusian companies provide IT services to the world’s biggest corporations and organizations (Samsung, HTC, London Stock Exchange, World Bank, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Google, British Petroleum, etc.).
Mobile applications developed by resident companies of the Belarusian Hi-Tech Park are used by more than a billion people in more than 190 countries of the world. Among them are Viber, MSQRD, MAPS.ME, Flo and many others.
Developed by Wargaming (Belarus-based R&D center Game Stream) World of Tanks is one of the five most profitable MMO games in the world. It has racked up more than 160 million registered players in the past 10 years.
Belarus is one of very few countries that develop supercomputers.
Over the first two decades since Belarus embarked on building its IT industry, local companies have earned a reputation as first-class developers, while Belarus has become to be known as a great IТ outsourcing destination. However, this business pattern is gradually changing.
Today, the domestic IT sector is switching to the product model. Belarus seeks to attract international corporations and tech giants in a bid to digitalize its economy. The government will rely not only on intellectual potential of domestic IT specialists. It has adopted unprecedented legislative initiatives designed to create the most favorable conditions for IT business in Belarus, and in the long run - to turn the country into a financial haven that offers a convenient, business-friendly environment that will help companies thrive and grow.