One year ago, on December 21, 2017, Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree on the development of the digital economy in Belarus. The document was informally called “Decree on the HTP 2.0” and surged big interest to the country in the foreign media.
The authors of the decree said that it would make Belarus the IT Hong Kong for Slavic world. How did the document really affect the country one year later?
42.TUT.BY speaks about the five changes that the revolutionary decree changed the tech sphere in Belarus.
1. Year’s revenue – in Q3
In three quarters of 2018, the export of the High-Tech Park has amounted to 965 million U.S. dollars. The earnings grew by 40% compared with the same period of 2017. Considering that, the export figures of the HTP are expected to surpass one billion dollars by the end of 2018.
2. More new residents than in a decade
The HTP had 192 residents when the decree was adopted. One year later, their number rose to 454 companies.
268 new residents – more than in the 12 years of its history – joined the High-Tech Park Belarus in 2018.
There are many big names among the newbies, like IgroTek, a game development company owned by the Internet giant Mail.Ru Group.
3. More foreign capital involved
The HTP has drafted more residents founded with foreign investment raising. For example, MapDate LLC is the development center of Mapbox company (USA), the creator of a leading global platform for real-time navigation, mapping, and engineering.
Another example is Mapbox that received a $164 million investment from the world’s largest fund SoftBank Vision at the end of 2017.
4. R&D of big public companies
Large public joint-stock companies are more willing to open new development centers in Belarus. For example, this year the development center of the South Korean giant SK Hynix, whose print boards can be seen in almost every computer, appeared in the HTP.
5. First English law deal
The first legal deal based on English took place in Belarus.
In December 2018, a Belarusian startup RocketData.io closed a seed round of investments for 500,000 U.S. dollars. This investment transaction became the first one in Belarus to be structured according to English law, a legal practice that had been allowed in Belarus by the decree.
Recall, the Decree on the development of the digital economy in Belarus granted tax breaks to the HTP residents until 2049, eased working conditions for foreign specialists, allowed digital tokens, cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, initial coin offerings (ICOs), activities of cryptocurrency exchanges, and smart contracts.