The information and communication technologies (ICT) sector in Bulgaria is contuning its progress as one fo the most dynamically developing sector and has a growing share in the state economy. Despite the crisis, it has been performing pretty well and has a serious potential for innovations and export-oriented growth. In this context, the cooperation between the state institutions, the sector organizations and the companies is really important.
Supporting the development of Bulgarian companies' export potential and identifying and reaching new market segments are exatly among the main directions in the activities of the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency (BSMEPA). The main components of that support are company trainings and organizing: national stands for specialized international fairs; trade missions abroad; and domestic business forums. Such initiatives allow Bulgarian enterprises show the best of their production, create new business partnerships, learn about best practises and strengthen their positions both on the domestic market and abroad, noted Evgeni Ivanov, Executive Director of BSMEPA.
The participation of Bulgarian companies in large international fairs, such as CeBIT Bilisim in Turkey, CeBIT Hannover in Germany and Gitex in The UAE ОАЕ, has gradually become a tradition with the help of the agency and the number of domestic firms taking part in them has been growing.
Specifically for the companies in the ICT sector,
BSMEPA has organized a trade mission to Israel during which the participating Bulgarian companies had the chance to make direct contacts with potential partners and strike new deals. Additionally, in 2014, the agency plans to organize a trade mission to The USA in a cooperation with the Bulgarian Association of Software Companies (BASSCOM).
Bulgarian ICT companies, which are mostly small or micro companies, usually have high-level R&D achievements and well educated personnel. Among the more significant of them, some are subcontractors in foreign projects, while others are specialized in importing, assembling, packaging and selling hardware products and solutions, as well as offering and implementing foreign software products and solutions. Most companies that develop software are micro or small sized.
The larger companies include: Datecs, Daisy Technology, Tremol, Eltrade, Persy, Dinex, SET PCB Technology, Micron-20 and CKA, which, to a large extent, are in the business of producing own stationery, office and ICT equipment оборудване; JAR Computers and Risk Electronic, which are active in assembling, developing and selling hardware products; Specialized Business Systems, Bianor Holding, Orak Engineering, Latona Bulgaria and MicroAccount, which are specialized in developing both own and other companies' software.
The share of ICT export in total ICT production
is higher than the respective ration in Bulgarian manufacturing, which is a clear sign that the ICT sector is strongly export-oriented. The top five countries which Bulgarian ICT companies export to are Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Turkey. Other important markets are Romania, The USA, China (including Hong Kong), Taiwan and Japan.
The following ICT products and services are noticeable with their strong business potential and growing exports: educational software; software for insurance companies; ERP software; manufacturing MES software; data processing software; and innovation center set-up services.
Another major trend in the ICT business in Bulgaria is outsourcing, which has been gaining momentum in the recent years.