Belarus Hi-Tech Park (HTP), known as the Silicon Valley of Europe, is home to 450 companies working in software development and all things related to information technology (IT). Besides being the backbone of the European software industry, HTP was founded with inspiration and innovation in mind. Its list of companies continues to grow and is expected to become a leading force in IT innovation.
The History of HTP
HTP began with the signing of the High-Tech Park Decree by President Alexander Lukashenko in 2005. The idea was to provide tax benefits for IT companies in order to push development and competition in the sector. Being a free economic zone, HTP offers its members a variety of tax exemptions so that more money can be deployed to innovation and enhancing services.
Its first four companies included EPAM Systems, System Technologies, ScienceSoft, and Sakrament IT, all of which play a vital role in European software development and IT in general. Physically, the Park began operating in June 2009 with the opening of its first building, which currently houses the HTP administration, the offices of its resident companies, as well as its business incubator and IT Academy.
“Belarus tech dream is a walk in the park.”
What Are Membership Benefits?
Being a member of HTP offers a variety of tax benefits. Resident companies are exempt from customs duties, corporate taxes, and profit tax until 2049. Employees of Belarus Hi-Tech Park resident-companies pay 9% of personal income tax instead of 13%. Additionally, membership offers a variety of scientific and educational tools to any company located in Belarus, not necessarily on the Park’s territory. Developers are often trained at the offices of the leaders in the industry, such as IBM, Microsoft, Sun, and others, but the Park offered the opportunity to train in Belarus too.
Achievements and Successes
According to the HTP website, “about 1 billion people in 193 countries are using mobile apps developed by HTP residents.” Its companies serve customers from 67 countries spread across the globe. HTP is also fairly diverse, with 30% of the Park’s employees being women, and more than 50% of its residents being under the age of 28 years old.
Here’s the list of the most prominent projects developed by the HTP residents:
World of Tanks was developed by the Belarusian company Wargaming. The game was released in August 2010 and has over 75 million players worldwide. It is just one of the many success stories associated with HTP.
Much of the development of the popular messaging service, Viber, happened at HTP. It was released in December 2010 and now has over 800 million users with services spanning across multiple platforms, including the iPhone and Android.
The company behind the popular photo filter and face swap app, Masquerade Technologies, has also benefited from HTP membership. At the moment, it is one of the most popular and highly rated apps of its kind on Apple Store and Google Play.
OpenLedger and HTP
OpenLedger’s technical partner Aetsoft is an HTP member. OpenLedger immensely benefits from this partnership: we have access to the most experienced blockchain specialists in Eastern Europe. What is more, a seasoned and experienced specialist is a rare notion in the blockchain world due to the innovative nature of the technology. Thanks to the blockchain opportunities here in Belarus, the industry can now boast of many blockchain companies with a vast portfolio of projects and products.
Advantages of an HTP Member as a Contractor
Having an HTP member as a contractor, companies know they are receiving quality services developed with security and professionalism in mind. Each company is carefully reviewed and evaluated by HTP administration, that’s why only the trusted enterprises become the members of the Park. Additionally, this way you can be sure that the product you’re developing will be compliant with all the existing regulations in place.
Foreign companies are allowed to perform any ICO, crypto, or blockchain activities in Belarus only through an HTP resident, as shown here. The regulations HTP is following put anti-money laundering, information security and investor rights at the forefront, ensuring all companies are operating above board.
HTP: Changing the Game
By offering residents tax exemptions in order to promote enhanced IT services, the title of HTP as the Silicon Valley of Europe is well-earned. The list of member companies continues to grow each year, and the success stories, such as World of Tanks, keep coming.
Considering there are over 52 universities in Belarus, with 16,000 annual graduates with degrees in information technologies, companies working under HTP have access to the stable flow of specialists much needed for the growing IT industry. Those who wish to apply can do so here.