Armenia - Country Commercial Guide
Information and Telecommunication Technology

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-09-16

Overview

 

Armenia has a burgeoning information and communications technology (ICT) sector.  Several international companies employ Armenians specializing in software development, industrial computing, electronics, and semiconductors.  The sector has recorded significant growth in recent years and seen a continuing expansion of new companies and hiring as Armenia continues to increase its presence in global value chains.  The number of firms actively operating in the ICT space exceeds 1,000, employing more than 20,000 workers, and yielding more than one billion dollars annually.  The ICT industry is growing at 20 percent annually, including steady growth last year, despite the effects from COVID-19 and regional hostilities.

There are several notable business areas within the Armenian ICT realm, including: customized software, web design and development, IT services and consulting, mobile app development, chip design and testing, computer graphics and multimedia, and games.  Emerging business areas coming into view or already in development, including data science, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and electronic design automation.  These are of particular interest to Armenia as ICT companies explore opportunities to sustain aggressive growth.

The Armenian government has played an active role in supporting the development of the ICT industry.  It has worked in close cooperation with international donors, including the United States, to improve the competitiveness of Armenian ICT firms in the global marketplace.  Since 2019, the Ministry of High-Tech Industry has exercised oversight over the development and implementation of the government’s policies and strategies with respect to ICT and related industries.

Armenia bills itself as a top destination for tech-related investment owing to a historical deep bench of talent in mathematics and the natural sciences, good and growing levels of English proficiency, several good university programs, competitive labor and operating costs, government support for the sector, a strong diaspora network, and existing relationships with large multinational companies as part of global value chains. 

However, businesses report that they face challenges in continuing to scale their operations as quickening growth drives a demand for qualified talent that is outstripping local supply.  Government investment in research and development has been low in recent years, and limited social spending has sapped educational establishments.  Systemic issues in the business environment, such as a lack of competition and transparency, limited access to financing, and cumbersome tax and customs procedures, affect the ICT sector as well.

To ensure Armenia continues to have a rich stock of highly qualified talent, several local universities and research institutions have increased their offerings of programs relevant to the ICT sector.  Some have opened research laboratories and maker spaces in cooperation with international partners, local industry associations, and leading U.S. multinational companies, including Microsoft, IBM, and National Instruments.  These ventures are typically established in Yerevan, but are also present in secondary cities, including Gyumri and Vanadzor.  Linkages between these establishments and U.S. universities and research institutions are growing.

According to recent industry reports, approximately a third of ICT firms in Armenia claim some foreign ownership.  More than half of the foreign firms in the ICT sector in Armenia are from the United States.  International companies account for roughly half of all employees in the sector.  Foreign branches tend to be development centers for parent companies.

 

Successive governments have thrown broad support behind the development of Armenia’s high-tech landscape.  The government has long identified the sector as a priority, signing memoranda of cooperation and agreement with foreign governments and multinational companies.  The government is focused on increasingly moving Armenia to a digital society. The Armenian government approved the country’s Digitalization Strategy in February 2021. The strategy envisages digital transformation of the Government, the economy and the society through the introduction and development of innovative technologies, cyber security, data policy, e-government systems, coordination of digitalization processes, and the creation of common standards.       

Technology centers, innovation districts, and free economic zones have been utilized to support the high-tech sector.  Tax privileges have also been used as a tool to incentivize startups.  The government is deploying other tools, including grants, study tours, educational programs, and the formation of a nascent investment fund, to support high-tech ventures.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Software, web design and development, mobile application development, system design, and IT consulting services account for the bulk of activity in Armenia’s ICT industry.  Armenia has found a more specialized niche thanks to the local presence of leading electronic design automation firms.

Several major multinational ICT firms maintain operations in Armenia.  Firms include: Synopsys, Workfront, DISQO, Optym, Xilinx, Microsoft, D-Link, National Instruments, Mentor Graphics, Intel, Cisco, IBM, Oracle, VMWare, ServiceTitan, and VOLO.

Armenia has hosted a number of major industry events that draw international attention.  The 2019 World Congress on Information Technology drew an estimated 2,500 participants from over 70 countries.  The Foundation for Armenian Science & Technology hosts an annual Global Innovation Forum that attracts major speakers.  The Enterprise Incubator Foundation, a local industry group, hosts an annual ArmTech conference, while another industry group, the Union for Advanced Technology Enterprises, organizes a regular DigiTec conference.  In recent years, Armenia has hosted an Engineering Week to develop the engineering and industrial component of Armenia’s ICT industry.

Educational establishments and innovation districts are opening new opportunities in the ICT industry by cultivating talent and building ecosystems wherein new companies can find a foothold.  Work is underway to develop an Engineering City on the outskirts of Yerevan.  When completed, this multi-million dollar establishment will serve to host local firms, facilitate the incubation of startups, and provide access to state-of-the-art tools and technologies.

Opportunities

As Armenia seeks to move up the value chain and remain competitive within the ICT realm, a number of emerging fields and opportunities are coming into view.  To the extent Armenia can be successful in developing new technologies, it can become a more desirable destination for contract research and development efforts.  Armenia is in a good position to continue to provide such services, including software testing and prototyping, to customers abroad.  Specific sub-sectors acknowledged as having potential include artificial intelligence pure research (and eventually engineering), semiconductor design and electronic design automation, and data science.

Resources

  • Ministry of High-Tech Industry
  • Ministry of Economy
  • Armenian National Interests Fund (ANIF)
  • Enterprise Armenia
  • Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia
  • UNCTAD Investment Policy Review of Armenia
  • WTO Trade Policy Review: Armenia 2018
  • Enterprise Incubator Foundation
  • Armenian ICT Sector Annual Report
  • Guide to Armenian Information Technology Companies
  • Gyumri Technological Center
  • Vanadzor Technological Center Establishment Program
  • Microsoft Innovation Center
  • Armenian National Engineering Laboratories (ANEL)
  • IBM Innovative Solutions and Technologies Center
  • DigiTec Expo
  • ArmTech Congress
  • TUMO Center for Creative Technologies
  • American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia
  • Spyur Information System