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The business environment in Belarus

Minsk tractors
Minsk tractors

An overview of business environment in Belarus: main industries, free economic zones, communications and transport infrastructure, science and engineering

Main industries in Belarus

Belarus has a well-developed industrial sector, which accounts for around 26,9% of the country’s GDP (2014). Some of its main industries are:

  • tractors and agricultural equipment (Belarusian tractors are well regarded throughout the region)
  • automotive industry (including dump trucks and earth movers)
  • electrical equipment and household appliances
  • radio electronics
  • chemicals
  • textiles
  • timber

Free economic zones in Belarus

Each region of Belarus has a free economic zone.

  • Brest (1996)
  • Gomel-Raton (1998)
  • "Minsk" (1998)
  • Vitebsk (1999)
  • Mogilev (2002)
  • Grodnoinvest (2002)

Businesses operating in these zones enjoy a range of benefits including:

  • zero-rate tax on profit for a period of 5 years from the moment of declaring profit; afterwards the tax is calculated at the rate reduced by 50%;
  • 50% discount on VAT on the products included in the list of import-substitution goods and sold in the territory of the Republic of Belarus;
  • zero property tax on buildings located on the territory of the free economic zones.

Belarus is currently working on a special economic zone  the China-Belarus industrial park Great Stone. It will feature industrial and logistics zones, residential and office buildings, financial and R&D centers. In accordance with the presidential decree, the industrial park will enjoy tax and customs privileges, other preferences and favorable conditions for doing business.

Communications infrastructure in Belarus

The national telecom operator in Belarus is Beltelecom. It provides voice and data services, hosting, and is responsible for the maintenance of main lines. The company's portfolio includes the brands byfly (high-speed Internet access) and ZALA (interactive television).

Telephone network: the phone system in Belarus is run by Beltelecom. The number of telephones connected to the public network was over 4.5 million (as of 1 January 2015).

Cellular communication: cellular communication is well developed in Belarus. Cellular communication covered 97.6% of the territory of the country where 99.8% of the population lived (2014). The number of subscribers of cellular mobile telecommunication is over 11 million.

Internet: The throughput capacity of the telecom links that connect Belarus with the rest of the world is 783Gbps The number of Internet users in the country is over 9.5 million, and this figure keeps rising. The number of subscribers per 1000 inhabitants is 1022.

The number of Belarus websites has increased significantly in recent years too. In 2015, work began on the development of the Cyrillic domain zone .бел.

Belarus ranks 36th on the ICT Development Index released by the International Telecommunication Union in 2015.

Transport links in Belarus

The country has a geographically strategic position in the center of Europe, between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union. Belarus has very good road and rail networks.

The public transport system is excellent, with frequent, punctual rail and bus services throughout the country. Minsk metro is the country’s first underground rail network.

Importance of science and technology

With high levels of education in Belarus the Government is busy with promoting the development of science and technology in the country.

In 2005 the Belarus President opened the Hi-Tech Park in Minsk, which resident companies can enjoy tax concessions and special opportunities to develop business in IT and related areas.

The Hi-Tech Park is located on the territory of 50ha of the Belarusian capital. The city’s high-tech idea unites a number of zones:

  • a scientific and production zone (buildings for IT companies),
  • a residential zone (houses for specialists, a school and a kindergarten),
  • a business and educational zone (a business center, offices of IT companies, a dormitory for the students of the IT Academy, a hotel),
  • a public and sport zone.

Unlike many similar parks in Europe and Asia, the Belarusian Hi-Tech Park is virtual. This means that for its resident companies the legal regime is valid across the country, regardless of the location of the office.

The Hi-Tech Park currently has more than 160 resident companies.

The companies are engaged in:

  • software development;
  • development and assimilation of software solutions;
  • IT outsourcing, IT services;
  • outsourcing of business processes and other things.

The Hi-Tech Park’s resident companies focus on two areas:

  • custom-made software development to address unique challenges of any enterprise,
  • development of ready-to-use software.

Proprietary software of the HTP resident developers cater to companies (B2B) and household consumers (B2B).

For B2B market the HTP develops ERP systems, integrated banking systems, software for the complex automation of banks, cloud business platforms, etc.

For B2C market the HTP designs mobile applications for Android, iOS, computer games, and other products. The Belarusian game World of Tanks has achieved international recognition.

The HTP’s clients are companies from 50 countries all over the world.

The HTP operates an HTP education center, the Belarusian-Indian education center, which trains personnel for the IT-industry.

Belarus is also working on the project to set up a technological cluster Belbiograd that will specialize in nano and biotechnologies and pharmaceutics.

Belarus market statistics

GDP: Br869.702 trillion (2015)
GDP per capita: Br91,646,000 (2015)
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