In recent years, the Belarusian IT industry has achieved significant results in the world market. The media more often began to write about Belarus as an "IT country" and "Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe". Since the 90s, the sphere of IT companies in Belarus has been rapidly developing almost independently of external and internal crisis phenomena. The overwhelming majority of companies and representative offices are focused on foreign markets - mainly the USA and EU countries. The advantage of Belarus in this area is a large number of qualified personnel.
IT business in Belarus
The IT industry is the fastest growing industry. Over time, it has developed into an economic driver and an area of strategic importance. In 2005, the Hi-Tech Park was created, one of the main features of which is the principle of extraterritoriality, which allows residents to place an office in any locality of the country.
Almost a quarter of the total number of Belarusian university students receive education in STEM specialties, including about 70 IT specializations. Many successful global IT companies employ many Belarusians, but the main human resources are concentrated within the country.
Tax incentives for IT businesses in Belarus
According to the decree on HTP 2.0, a special regime of tax incentives was to be in effect until 2049. However, the decree may be amended.
From January 1, 2021, the income tax rates for employees of companies that are residents of the Park of High Technologies were increased. Individual income tax for employees of HTP resident companies has a rate of 13% instead of the previous 9%. The tax was raised in order to replenish the country's budget to combat COVID-19. This rate will be valid until 2023.
Benefits for foreign companies:
• exemption from value added tax (VAT) arising from foreign organizations that provide the residents of the Park of High Technologies with marketing, advertising, consulting and some other services (work);
• nullification of the tax rate on income of foreign organizations in relation to income from the alienation of shares, shares in the authorized capital, shares in the property of residents of the Park of High Technologies, subject to their ownership during the year, as well as royalties, income from the provision of advertising services and some other income, paid to them by HTP residents.
Hi-Tech Park in Belarus
Established in 2005, the Hi-Tech Park is considered the leading IT cluster in Central and Eastern Europe, offering the best conditions for opening, running and developing a business. HTP is a special economic zone with a special tax and legal regime.
In December 2017, the President signed Decree No. 8 "On the Development of the Digital Economy". Elements of the English law system appeared: a convertible loan agreement, option contracts and options, agreements on compensation for property losses, agreements on non-competition and non-poaching.
HTP residents can engage in 37 types of activities: from advanced solutions in the field of artificial intelligence to the development of high-quality software, engineering solutions, games and mobile applications.
HTP helps the development of regions. Thanks to the legal regime of the Park, which operates throughout the territory of Belarus, a resident can be registered and conduct his activities anywhere in the country.
Key tax benefits of the Belarus Hi-Tech Park
In addition to exemption from VAT and income tax, an HTP resident receives the following tax benefits:
• exemption from real estate tax;
• abolition of payment of land tax. For the period of construction by residents of the park of buildings and structures for their activities, but not more than three years;
• exemption of residents from paying offshore fees when paying dividends to founders.
A significant financial burden is made by contributions to the Social Insurance Fund of the population. They are paid at the same rate as in other organizations. 34% is paid by the company, and 1% by the employee's salary. The upper limit of this contribution corresponds to the average salary in Belarus, which is about 600 US dollars. However, the salary at the HTP is several times higher than the national average. Thus, the exemption for these contributions is one of the most significant.
The number of residents of the Hi-Tech Park in Belarus in 2020-2021
Among the residents are companies from the field of medicine, logistics, finance, e-commerce, consulting, gaming industry and software development for the agro-industrial kit, and so on, which are engaged in the development of software products and the provision of IT services to clients from more than 67 countries of the world. And more than 40% of the Park residents are companies with foreign capital.
In 2019, 319 new companies entered the Park. In 2020, another 236. Today, the HTP has 969 residents and about 65 thousand employees.
IT outsourcing companies in Belarus
There are over a thousand IT companies in Belarus, most of which are in the Hi-Tech Park.
EPAM is a company engaged in the development of digital products and complex software solutions. Founded in 1993, EPAM is a leading global provider of software development services and digital platforms.
Itransition is an IT holding. He was repeatedly mentioned among the best outsourcing companies in the world. Working with large businesses and startups, the holding provides a full range of services for software development, application integration, strategic and technological IT consulting, testing, maintenance and software support.
SCAND has been providing software development services to customers in Europe, the United States and Canada for the second decade.
The main development specializations are web applications with complex functionality and user interface, mainly in Java. The products and modules we develop are used in NASA's business processes.
ISsoft is one of the largest Belarusian developers. Creates projects for the USA and Western Europe in the fields of finance, insurance, medicine, automobile production, entertainment, tourism and travel.
Intetics is an American software company with Belarusian roots. It appeared in Minsk in 1995. In 2015, she entered the top hundred of the best IT outsourcers in the world according to the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP). On April 20, 2018 Boris Kontsevoy, founder of the Belarusian IT company Intetics Inc., joined the Forbes Technical Council.
Software development companies in Belarus
Wargaming is one of the world's largest publishers and developers in the free-to-play MMO market. Today the company has 20 offices around the world and employs over 4,500 employees. Wargaming is currently actively engaged in the search and publication of games for PC and consoles from third-party developers, as well as the creation of mobile games.
Flo is a women's health app developer. At the end of 2019, this application became the most popular in the world in the App Store according to the Appannie analytical platform. Flo's installs have exceeded 100 million.
Flo's investor was the Founders Fund, one of the leading venture capital funds in the United States, with early-stage investments in companies such as Airbnb, Spotify, Facebook and SpaceX.
Flo co-founder Dmitry Gursky did not specify the volume of attracted investments in the dev.by review, but said that according to the results of the round, Flo was valued at $ 230 million.
Top IT companies in Belarus
Clutch, an American analytical platform, has published its annual rankings of the world's leading b2b service providers. Solvd, Inc got into two lists at once: Clutch 1000 and Top Belarus Web Developers 2020.
Clutch researchers analyze the development market situation using the patented Leaders Matrix method. The research methodology compares business service providers in a specific market based on verified customer reviews, service offered, performance and market presence.
Themanifest has compiled a list of the best IT consultants in Belarus. On the site you can see descriptions, reviews, awards, and select the ideal partners in accordance with the requirements of the company.
Export of Belarusian IT companies in 2019
In 2019, the export of computer and information services from the Republic of Belarus amounted to almost $ 2 billion.
Compared to 2018, exports grew by 35.4%, or nearly $ 400 million.
Export of Belarusian IT companies in 2020
In 2020, the export of Belarusian IT companies exceeded $ 2.5 billion, which is more than 20% of the total export of services in Belarus. And this is the best indicator among the CIS countries.
For Belarus, the priority of digital transformation is determined at the level of state policy.
Cryptocurrency business in Belarus
Cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency exchange operators, mining, smart contract, blockchain, tokens are legal in Belarus. And operations with tokens are exempt from income tax and VAT.
Through the residents of the Park of High Technologies, legal entities have the right to perform operations with tokens, including purchase and alienate them, conduct ICOs in Belarus and abroad.
Until 2023, a number of tax incentives are provided for transactions with tokens. For example, income from mining activities, acquisition and alienation of tokens is not subject to taxation for individuals and HTP residents. Activities using tokens are not considered banking activities.