St Petersburg has long been considered a Russian “Window to Europe”, but today, this expression has acquired additional meaning since the city has become Russia’s largest software exporter.

St Petersburg supplies the global IT market with cloud platforms, programming environments, speech recognition solutions, as well as a wide range of services in the field of custom software development. In total, there are about 600 IT companies operating in the city and about 200 of them export their products. Information technologies account for 25% of all St Petersburg exports.

The most part of the companies create software solutions and software made to order. The largest IT service companies are: Auriga, Arcadia, First Line Software and Netrika. IT-service developers for Western clients create systems for collecting and analyzing large data and building analytical models aimed at providing support for management decision-making processes.

“In the market of IT services for software development, Russian companies in general and those from St Petersburg in particular occupy the intellectual products niche. Due to such national peculiarities as the propensity of our fellow citizens to more analytical perception of the world, we have certain advantages in the segment of complex mathematical systems software engineering based on big data, artificial intelligence, neural networks”, says Nikolai Puntikov, the founder of First Line Software, an IT service company, which carries out 70% of its activities in the US, European and Australian markets.

Nikolay Puntikov adds that the most accurate global business development strategy is organic growth as new clients emerge, also thanks to good company reputation.

“Sometimes customers find us themselves, as in the case of an Australian startup in medicine. The customer invented an EMR (Electronic Medical Records) system from scratch. He called our office in the USA with a request for development, and for more than five years one third of the Australian population has been using the service developed by St Petersburg engineers,” he says.

In 2019, exactly in line with this scenario, the company entered the market of South Africa, where it is preparing to develop digital solutions for transport infrastructure in Johannesburg. 

As far as other St Petersburg’s IT export destinations are concerned, Genesis supplies its services to the USA, Western Europe, South Africa and the Middle East. Robbo sells its designer kits to schools in Finland, UK, Thailand and Japan. The Speech Technology Center software can be found in 60 countries around the globe. 

According to Russoft 2018 data (the assessment was made at the national level), most often Russian technologies are purchased in the USA ($224.3 mio), Germany ($141.9 mio) and Switzerland ($91 mio). Among the Asian countries the leading buyers are China and India ($90.8 mio and $52.3 mio, respectively).

Original article at Invest Foresight ibusiness magazine

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David Tedford