The IT Industry in the Maldives: Country Profile & Overview
The Maldives is and has been for some years always considered in the top 50 countries to outsource services, this is also related to the IT industry being one of the most important industries in the country. The high number of IT professionals that chose the Maldives as their temporary or permanent place to provide services or continue their career is constantly growing.
The history of the industry in the Maldives started in 1976 with the creation of the Computer Society of Maldives, but the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry started around the year 2000 and its development has been increasing since then to become one of the top destinations for foreign countries to outsource their services.
The country is a development center for many big companies from all over the world, such as J.P. Morgan & Co, Qatar Airways, Microsoft or Google, and other companies from countries like Japan, Sweden, Norway, North America, Australia, or the UK. It is estimated that the profit of outsourcing services to the Maldives can cost 70% of the price It would cost in the same country as the companies.
The next projection of the future for the country is to reach 5 USD Billion dollars in exports by 2022 and creating 200.000 jobs, related to this data, the country also achieved a target of 1 USD Billion dollars in the year 2016. With the fast growth of the IT industry, the government took action to boost the possibility to be able to learn IT-related technologies in the country and improve IT education in the country. The Maldives also ended the Indo-Maldives “Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement” because it was causing unemployment for Maldives professionals.
Why you should work with Maldives Companies.
Some of the reasons for working with IT companies from the Maldives are the low costs of outsourcing the services there, and also the good education of the country’s professionals. It is estimated that the costs can be 30% lower, also the minimum wage in the Maldives is 63.3€, we will talk in-depth about this in the following section.
The education in the IT sector is rich in knowledge because the IT industry is one of the most important ones in the country, you can find highly educated graduates and also there’s one more aspect to talk about and It is the law.
The law about foreign business and commercial law follows the principles of British commercial law and has an independent judiciary. The Maldives has also signed some international treaties about intellectual property rights, electronic transactions, and computer crimes, and It is one of the most rigorous about this in their region. In addition to this, the country has signed a Free Trade Agreement with Singapore (SLSFTA) that eliminates 80% of all tariff lines through staging periods of up to 15 years, and this has come into force since 1st of May 2018.
Their English level is better in relation to other neighboring regions, especially in the city zones and they are friendly by nature, and this makes doing business so much easy.
What you should be aware of when working with IT companies from the Maldives.
Maldives doesn't have a tech industry of it's own since the country's main focus industry is tourism. So, when working with a company located in Maldives you usually hit a freelancer, or employees that choose to come for a limited period of time to work from there. Generally IT professionals are exploiting the major benefit the industry has to offer - location flexibility. This highly impacts a company's trust level overall, and the skill base that is used to provide a specific digital service. Nonetheless, among the few companies that chose to change their HQ in the Maldives, there are also trustworthy companies with highly skilled professionals that can be even better and cheaper compared to Mexico, India or Pakistan.
How reliable are IT companies from the Maldives?
As it was mentioned in the previous section, multiple IT companies are set in Maldives only temporarily. Since the small tropical island doesn't have a native specialisation in tech, multiple companies from different countries contributed to the existing digital infrastructure. Based on these arguments, the reliability of Maldives-based IT companies is questionable, and clients that contract such companies for digital services are exposed to a certain risk degree.
To conclude this section, we will say that the reliability of IT companies is certainly compromised by the fear of fraud, but as in every region or country, there are always good companies and bad companies, it is advisable to find companies with proven reliability to avoid fraud and that they work with the international standards of quality.
How does the IT industry from the Maldives relate to the neighboring regions/countries?
To start developing this section we will analyze one important and basic aspect of outsourcing projects to this type of country that is still developing. Internet access could potentially curtail the industry’s growth. Although local telecoms operator Mobitel has developed the implementation of 4.5G LTE technology. The average connection speed is 7.3 Mbps in the country, in relation to other countries: Indonesia (6.7), India (5.6), Malaysia (8.2), and Vietnam (8.3).
Another aspect that can influence the industry development is the high rental prices in Colombo’s commercial property sector, which is the most populated city in the country, although it is not the capital of Maldives when outsourcing services one of the most important things is cost reduction so this is an important aspect to talk about. This aspect in the neighboring countries is less problematic because their development of the industry is bigger at this time.
Maldives is surrounded by one of the giants of outsourcing services which is India, a very powerful country that remains untouchable in position number 1 for BPO in accordance with the 2016 A.T Kearney Global Services Location Index, where the Maldives remains in number 14.
The final conclusions of this short analysis on Maldives IT industry are as follows, the Maldives is one of the top 20 best Business Process Outsource destinations, and the biggest industry activity is outsourcing services, you have to be aware of the unstable situation and the specific characteristics of this country such as internet connection, reliability of the industry, IT level of education of the graduates in this country and of course prices, for this it is recommended to work with companies that have proven reliability to be sure that any frauds will occur, and take advantages of lower costs of outsourcing services to this country.
UPD 2022 IT Industry forecast:
The Maldives will remain an attractive destination for tourists that now enjoy fewer travel facilities due to Covid-19 strains that emerge more and more often. This means that the Maldives could know a decline in interest from foreigners regarding IT and tech. However, once the pandemic will slow down, the Maldives will most likely recover the previous position