This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Romania’s IT market is one of the fastest growing markets in Central and Eastern Europe forecasted to grow at a rate 3.1% over 2017-2021, reaching a value of RON 9.9 billion ($2.47 billion) in 2021.
At the end of 2019, the local IT market was estimated at $6.4 billion. Per a study conducted by ANIS (Asociația Patronală a Industriei de Software și Servicii) 80% of this value was represented by exports.
Half of the total revenues ($2.9 billion) came from big companies with over 250 employees followed by small companies (up to 50 employees) that contribute with $2.2 billion, and mid-market companies (50-249 employees) which bring $1.3 billion.
The countries’ center point for IT development is Bucharest, holding 63% of revenues and other regions like: The North-West with 18%; The West with 5%; Central with 6%; and The North-East with 5%.
Cybersecurity is a key component of the ICT sector in Romania. According to the National Strategy on Digital Agenda for Romania 2020, fully implementing the strategic vision of the ICT will require a total investment of around $2.64 billion.
The Digital Agenda for Romania also sets priorities for key sectors for the Romanian economy and society: Employment, Research and Development (R&D), Climate Cehange and Energy Sustainability, Education, and Fighting Poverty and Social Exclusion.
In 2019, the annual European Cyber Security Challenge, the most important cybersecurity event of the year, was organized in Romania by the Cyberint Center of the Romanian Intelligence Service, the national CERT, and the National Association for Information Systems Security (ANSSI). During this event, the Romanian National Team was crowned European Champion.
Software and IT Services in Romania
The Romanian market for software in IT services has been growing substantially and is likely to become the most important contributor to the local GDP in the medium to long run.
Out of the market value of $6.4 billion estimated by ANIS at the end of 2019$5.2 billion come from the Software & IT Services sector while $1.2 billion from various activities on the IT market.
Research and Development
Romania has an important tradition in research, development, and innovation in the technical field. The technical expertise and lower labor costs of engineers have helped attract interesting and more significant projects into local industry. Industry clusters can be found in major university cities: Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Timisoara, Craiova, and Brasov.
The Software and IT Services market is worth around $5.5 billion and was estimated to grow by around 15% each year through 2021. The structure of the domestic market is:
· Major buyers: Industry (39%), finance (20%), services and consumers (16%)
· Most important growth rates: finance (26%), services and consumers, telecom, industry, retail
· Services 64% vs. Product 36%
The cybersecurity market in Romania is still emerging. Romania boasts the highest rate of per capita technology workers in Europe. However, the Romanian cybersecurity market is open to foreign players, too, with U.S. suppliers well represented. Market entrants should be aware of the various applicable EU and Romanian market regulations.
Starting in 2021, Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, hosts the European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Center, a future hub to distribute EU and national funding for cybersecurity research projects. Bucharest was selected from a list of seven vying cities to host the center.
The EU Cyber Centre’s role is to reinforcing the European Union’s resilience, deterrence and response to cyber-attacks, aiming to retain and develop essential cyber-security technological capacities to secure EU’s Digital Single Market (DSM). The Competence Centre will implement parts of the Digital Europe and Horizon Europe programs by allocating grants and carrying out procurements.
Regarding cyber education, in the 2019-2020 academic year more than 15 programs of cybersecurity were developed nationwide in over 11 universities and high schools on topics ranging from cybersecurity of the military information systems, cryptography, and digital investigations to machine learning and network security.
Full 5G coverage is available in Bucharest (provided by the largest telecom operators). Consumers with a 5G subscription and a compatible phone benefit from maximum download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps.
Selling through an established local Romanian channel partner is the lowestrisk market entry strategy for most U.S. manufacturers. However, when selling to Romanian government departments, it may be necessary to establish a direct business presence in Romania, especially when competing for projects related to national security. The cooperation with ANSSI (www.anssi.ro), the most important local association in cybersecurity, offers U.S. companies interested in the Romanian market the best approach in finding partners, information about the market, and business opportunities with the public sector.
Special incentives for expenses related to research and development activities
Companies can benefit from an additional deduction of 50% from the eligible expenses for research and development. Moreover, accelerated depreciation may be applied for devices and equipment used in research and development activity. For large investments, state aid schemes or individual aid may be available.
Laws, rules, and regulations on the use of Internet
Romania has laws on electronic commerce, online copyrights, electronic signature, electronic payment, online advertising, personal data protection, cybercrime, internet pornography, and electronic communications.
The government also developed some draft laws for minimum security conditions of digital systems for the Public Administration and national electronic records.
Income tax exemption for IT employees providing software development activities
Romania doesn’t tax the incomes of IT employees providing software development activities; Thus, Romania is one the most competitive markets for outsourcing, with an average labor cost of $1,123 for a net salary of $720.
Regarding gender-balance, Romania ranks 3rd in EU statistics on women employees in ICT.
24% of ICT graduates in Romania are female, providing one of the most inclusive and gender-balanced work culture and environment
There are important opportunities for expertise, products, and services, addressing three fundamental pillars:
- Incident response and disaster recovery
- Software reporting, forensic tools, and security information team
- Use of certified software products and technologies, under the interoperability umbrella
- Validation of security environment
- Emergency response team working with private/public sector teams, shared intelligence
Research on cyber warfare
- Exchanging information, forums, and communities
One of the biggest opportunities for Romanian IT&C sector is represented by the European Recovery and Resilience Facility and subsequently by the Romania’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which is based on green and digital transition.
IT&C is present in all the six pillars that make up the plan, but two of them are strongly related to digital transformation of Romanian society.
The second Pillar (Digital Transformation) is based on four priorities:
- Public services digitalization
- Digital skills
- Secure and resilient digital infrastructures
- Digital transformation of SMEs
The main component of second pillar is Governmental Cloud and digital public systems with a budget of $2.08 billion. It consists of 4 reforms and 19 investments, among which we can mention: Governmental Cloud, Electronic Identity card for 8.5 million people, skilling/up-skilling/re-skilling for 30.000 civil servants and 100.000 citizens, 65 organizations that will improve their cyber security.
On the other hand, the third Pillar (Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth) includes another important Component (Sprijin pentru mediul de afaceri, cercetare, dezvoltare și inovare) that proposes two reforms and 5 investments with a total budget of $2.6 billion. Among the results assumed by those investments and which are related to IT&C, we have: at least 3000 SMEs will suffer a digital transformation process, Funds for digitalization, climate action and other areas of interest, managed together with the European Investment Bank as an implementing partner or support for at least 3 organizations with expertise in microelectronics to join projects of European Partnership for Key Digital Technologies.
One of the top priorities of the Romanian government’s IT strategy is the Digitalization of the Public Sector, with the implementation of associated cybersecurity programs.
The current Covid-19 has led to the acceleration of digital transformation processes in Romania, pushing the private, as well as the public sector towards remote working and learning. Despite the disruption, the context was seen as a critical opportunity for the e-Government implementation strategy. Early adopters of digital transformation processes hope this can become a persistent change.
Regarding public schools’ reform in Romania and digital transformation, actions across this field focus around digital inclusion, upskilling of ICT competences and advanced digital skills to enable key emerging and breakthrough technologies and innovation in the public and private sector, as well as many others.
Projects launched within the framework include the delivery of ICT equipment (both hardware and software) to schools with a special focus on rural areas, training programmes aiming to enhance teachers’ digital competences, and raising awareness on digital skills and initiatives supporting the digitalization in the public and private sector.
With ramifications in cybersecurity, Romanian Government is set to launch the program “Din grijă pentru copii” that will also address concerns regarding child protection in the offline and online environment - infrastructure / digital identification, alerting, intervention and evaluation: addressing unique number of child emergencies at national level, missing child alert system, computer system for identification and processing of data on child pornography crimes and online abuse, mobile applications child alerting and self-assessment of psycho-emotional state, juvenile hearing rooms, etc.
Another essential public sector, the health sector will also become an important buyer of cybersecurity services due to the large volumes of personal data that are managed by the health system. Large telemedicine projects are currently under discussion and they should have an important cybersecurity component. However, certain steps need to be taken in order to implement telemedicine projects. The most important part is the expected further detailing of the rules for the procedures laid down by the implementation of law 362/2018. Published at 12th of January 2019 it sets the main goal of assuring a common high level of network and informational system security. This law is addressed, among other sectors, to suppliers of medical services (public or private).
Opportunities also exist in the private sector to supply organizations of all sizes from SMEs to large corporations. Currently, enterprise application is noticeably below the EU-28 average. Thus, there is high potential for companies to target enterprises by offering low-cost solutions. The most substantial opportunities can be found in organizations for which IT security is critical:
- Financial, banking, and insurance sectors
- Critical infrastructure networks (energy and utilities)
- Telecommunications (Telco)
- Utilities and Energy Transport
Cloud-related solutions have large potential in the short- and mid-term. The GOR is considering establishing a cloud agency, “National Agency of E-Services and Cloud (ANSEC),” within a future public-private partnership (PPP), eventually consolidating all the public administrations’ IT platforms.
Trade Events (due to the Covid-19 crisis it is better to contact the organizers for further details):
- Tech Week
- Dev Talks
- Voxxed Days Fronted Bucharest
- RoOUG ConTech
Monica Eremia, U.S. Commercial Service