IT in Belarus. Why Minsk has become an interesting relocation destination
Minsk has always been at the cutting edge of technology. In the 1960–1970s, first Soviet computers were invented and built here, hence their name—Minsk. They controlled lunar rovers, collected data from satellites, recognized fingerprints. In the 1990s, the machines were dismantled for precious metals. But the instrument-building enterprises and qualified experts stayed on; and then came first Western commercial orders. That is how the Belarusian IT sector emerged.
In 1993, EPAM company was founded in the basement of a Khrushchev-era house in downtown Minsk. It is the sector’s most significant success to date: tens of thousands of employees globally, multi-billion-dollar turnover, the first time the Belarusian flag appeared on the New York Stock Exchange. IBA Group, one of Eastern Europe’s largest developers, was formed in the same year. A year later, Belhard company emerged.
2000s: hundreds of Belarusian outsourcing and service companies work for large clients from all over the world. Projects for Microsoft, Northrop Grumman, PepsiCo, Whirlpool, 3M, Amazon, Cisco Systems, HP, Oracle, Xerox, Disney, Intel, Apple, IBM, Facebook are implemented here. Belarusian developers and managers hone their skills in international projects. Over 90% of our IT sector output is exported to the USA and EU.
In 2012, World of Tanks game makes a loud splash. In the same year, Viaden Media becomes the region’s biggest mobile app developer and gets acquired by billionaire Teddy Sagi. In 2014, the Japanese bought Viber for $900M. Since then, news about Belarusian IT products’ success have become commonplace. However, not everyone knows that MAPS.ME or “Zombie Farm” originated in Minsk.
IT businesses in the country enjoy strong state support. Almost 700 companies are residents of the Hi-Tech Park (HTP); such status grants them tax benefits, protection from inspections, assistance with the relocation of experts. Belarus is often called an IT country, and this doesn’t seem that much of an exaggeration. The New York Times refers to Belarus as a tech hub; Atomico investment fund considers Minsk one of Europe’s best cities for startups.
There are 70,000+ IT professionals in Belarus. Most of them live in Minsk. It is a motley professional community: people from various countries, different ages, experiences and views. They are united by interesting projects, high income and the city evolving faster than ever before— while still remaining a convenient and comfortable place for everyone.
Come to Minsk and play your part in this IT history.