The ICT Industry in Cyprus: Data & Insights
Cyprus is well-known for being headquarters for several international ICT corporations, the island is a hub for software development, digital marketing, or service integration companies. Some of the world’s most famous companies have offices in this country such as Microsoft, IBM, or Oracle, and it has also been a common location also for the fintech industry. This country also has integrated the online services at the point of having 160 e-government services available for the population of this country because of the pandemic situation, this can give us a point of view of how dynamic the government is in this country.
Also, Cyprus is a member of the European Union since 1 May 2004, when they joined together with other 9 countries, and this means that European agreements and laws are working on this country, but not in the Northern part of this country, where the EU legislation is suspended until a final settlement of “The Cyprus issue” between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots.
The Cypriot ICT market reached a value of 659.39 Trillion € in the year 2018, representing a 3% more than last year’s value for this sector of the Cypriot economy, with other aspects such as inflation and unemployment remaining positive. This country also is working on the 5G high-speed Broadband which of course is great news for the ICT industry as well. The number of software developers and other IT-related jobs has been rising quickly during the last years and Cyprus is becoming a small but powerful country when we talk about IT services.
Why should somebody work with companies from Cyprus?
The importance of low salaries in Cyprus can be found interesting for companies in the EU that are looking to outsource their services or products to other countries to have better profitability, but still want to have the security of working with a company that is under the same legislation as they are, and this is important because it gives companies a greater warranty of having a successful business process outsourcing. With this country being in the EU, it means more than they are under the same legislative agreements, it is easy to travel there but it is important to point out that Cyprus isn’t a Schengen country yet.
Also, this country has a good talent pool of skilled professionals in fintech, IT, and business-related topics. The education sector is adapting to reality introducing courses and degrees to supply more skilled graduates to the job market. For example, the University of Nicosia broke a big barrier about adopting blockchain technology and now they offer the first certified online blockchain course (MOOC) and also the world’s first master’s degree for digital currencies, which seems very promising for the IT industry of the country.
About foreign startups, Cyprus is trying to attract this kind of companies to their country because is the best way to secure their digital future industry, they have created a startup visa which is a very revolutionary way to boost their local industry, having professionals from outside of the country who can help their sector to grow in the long term.
Another positive point to choose Cyprus is the favorable taxation in an EU member country, which can be found very interesting for global companies that want to be present in as many countries as possible. This country is having a strong transformation, they are doing many things to transform the country into a more digital-friendly Cyprus, accordingly with their development in this type of industry.
What somebody should be aware of when working with IT companies from Cyprus?
Cyprus is a great country in some aspects but has also its disadvantages, for example, their costs can be found to be too high for some countries of Europe, for example, Portugal has a similar minimum wage and cost-living prices. Another big disadvantage is that nearly 46% of the new jobs created in the EU require STEM skills, which means Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and Cyprus doesn’t have a very high number of professionals that can fill this job offer, probably because there are only 1.18 million people in this country and it’s not a specially high number also for the country’s size which is 9.251 square kilometers.
Also, Cyprus is not a Schengen country, so it is more difficult to travel there to meet with other companies to work with or make business. The personal taxes in this country are up to 35% but with the corporate tax being 12% it is something you have to be aware of when making deals with companies from Cyprus.
The majority of the work in Cyprus is focused on the tourism sector and agriculture so it is not a very big tech hub like other countries like Germany, Sweden or the UK, and they also are a bit back in technology and digitalization when compared to the rest of Europe, especially the most developed countries.
Personal Income taxes can go from 0 to 35%, from an income of 0 to 19500€, it is 0%, from 19501 to 28000 it is 20%, from 28001 to 36300 it is 25%, from 36301 to 60000€ it is 30% and over this amount, it is a fixed 35%. But corporate taxes are only 12%.
The last thing it is important to point out is that Cyprus is generally a safe country, but the problem of corruption and bribery is important with a rate of 60 of 100, also crime rates increasing since 3 years ago are important.
How reliable are IT companies from Cyprus?
Cyprus is a country, were generally speaking it is safe to make business because they are under the same law as the rest of the European Union and that makes business safer and easier, another strong point is that they are not a dangerous country in other aspects and don’t have a social situation which can make this place suspicious. As with every country it is recommended to follow business best practices and don’t give anything for granted when doing business, following the law, looking for reliable companies with proven experience will make deals much more safer and successful while avoiding scams or unwanted situations.
We can say that generally speaking companies from Cyprus are reliable but following this recommendation will make the possibility of successful business much better.
How is the IT industry from Cyprus in relation to the neighboring regions/countries?
Cyprus is surrounded by Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt. The unstable situation in the countries from the southeast due to the war situation that made people run away from their homes is a big problem for Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey in one or another way.
In Turkey the ICT industry is valued at 27.4 billion €, the average growth of this sector in the 5 last years is a great 17% and there are more than 2000 companies in this sector in the country, with more than 140.000 people involved, this gives a general idea of the good situation of this country which is surrounding Cyprus.
On the other hand in Israel, there is a big science and technology center, which also has its own name, “Silicon Wadi”, which started in the 1990s with high-tech companies. Tel Aviv ecosystem has ranked fifth worldwide due to their accessibility to the global market with double of international customers than the famous American “Silicon Valley ''.
So we can say that Cyprus is surrounded by big tech centers or potential tech centers as well as with an unstable situation very near this island.
Tech Industry in Cyprus in 2022
With already Tech Behemoths like Microsoft and SAP present in Cyprus, the ICT stage looks stable for now. Moreover, most IT companies already got used to the Covid-19 situation and in 2 years everyone is flexible enough to work either from home or office. Other than what has 2021 brought to the local ICT, there are no big news that could change the game in Cyprus, and the tech industry can proudly say it stands on solid ground.
Even with the situation being not very stable in the area near Cyprus, and being surrounded by big tech centers, Cyprus is a good technology hub where you can find good companies to work with, it has a lot of tax advantages and a competitive market that makes the companies become better.
It has very few disadvantages because, like Malta, it is a great destiny for outsourcing services, but still being inside of Europe with the protection that it gives to the companies.
If you follow the recommendations and the guidelines that we talked about, you’ll find this country being a good place to outsource your services and products, with so many advantages and strong points, very few weak points, and a good geopolitical position, even with some instability near the area.