Emerging tech development hub
Executive summary

Serbia is an emerging tech hub in Europe, conveniently located and open for business, with domestically-grown tech champions recognised worldwide

• An internationally acclaimed and growing engineering talent pool.

• The most competitive corporate taxation in Europe.

Why invest in IT business in Serbia?

Tax incentives

for development of the
knowledge-based economy in Serbia

Tax incentives

for development of the
knowledge-based economy in Serbia

International companies in Serbia

According to Financial Times:
Serbia is “punching almost at 12 times above its weight” in attracting foreign direct investments.

Foreword

Digitalization and the fourth industrial revolution provided a unique opportunity for our country and its citizens to overleap.


And we have achieved a lot in all areas - education, public administration, economy and setting up infrastructure for further development. We have succeeded in our goal of beginning this important transformation of our society and our economy.


We know that Serbia can do even better.


Join us to continue building on our mutual success.


Prime Minister’s Manifesto, October 2020

Leader in digital response to Covid-19

Including the state-of-the art testing and vaccination systems

With 22 innovative solutions, Serbia is one of the top five countries in the world in the number of innovations.

About
Serbia

Welcome to Serbia!

A great place to get together

Serbia is one of the few countries in the world that people from the USA, the EU, Russia, China, India and other countries can enter without a visa.

About Serbia

Financial Times has ranked Serbia #1 in the world in greenfield FDI performance, two times in the last 3 years

On WB Doing Business List, Serbia moved up by 43 places over the past 4 years and is now ranked 44th globally.

City of Belgrade has been named a City of the Future in Southern Europe by the Financial Times.

IT in
Serbia

ICT services as the country’s biggest net export branch

We help our customers run their banks, stores and restaurants better so they can create the best customer experiences as they grow.

We do this for customers all over the world. So, we needed another global hub where talent and innovation could flourish. We found it in Belgrade, Serbia, where we're constantly inspired by the strong academic and start-up culture we need to help our customers thrive.

Today, 3,600+ of the brightest minds in Serbia use their talent and creativity to innovate and simplify our customers' businesses. And with our future, state-of-the-art campus (soon to be home to 4,200 team members), we'll collaborate across continents and 141 countries, using our legacy of innovation to inform our vision to take our customers into the future... and beyond.

Marija Zivanovic-Smith
SVP, Corporate Marketing, Communications & Chief External Affairs Officer

• MDC Serbia is growing into one of the most innovative Microsoft engineering campuses in Europe, building cutting edge Microsoft software services and products.

• Their engineers come from most of the WW nations, demonstrating full diversity and inclusion as one of the core Microsoft Values.

• 400 software engineers

• Working on Azure, SQL Server, Mixed Reality, Microsoft Office

• Areas of expertise:
AI and Database systems

"The team in Serbia demonstrated amazing talent as they overcame significant technical challenges. The attitude the team has shown has really been such an amazing thing to watch."

Mr. Rohan Kumar,
Corporate Vice President
Azure Data

• International company specialized in energy management, supplying over 400 million customers.

• Over 1,000 employees, including 30 with a PhDs.

• Schneider Electric DMS software enables big savings in power distribution, and is used by cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Vancouver, Toronto and many more.

"Schneider Electric recognized knowledge, innovation and experience of young engineers in the Republic of Serbia and invested resources in the DMS from Novi Sad, which is now a global center of Schneider Electric research."

Mr. Dragoljub Damjanovic,
General Manager
Schneider Electric Serbia

• The R&D center in Serbia works on innovative products and solutions, which define the future the of automotive industry.

• The company employs more than 400 highly qualified specialist engineers who develop electronic parts for leading car and commercial vehicle manufacturers, such as Mercedes, VW, MAN, Volvo etc.

"The energy and competencies of our people enable us to grow so fast that in only two years of operation, we were able to create the complete product. For the international CVS R&D Innovation Award, among 110 applications from 16 locations, Novi Sad center won first prize!"

Mr. Sasha Cioringa,
General Manager
Continental Automotive Serbia

• Ready Player One movie star Tye Sheridan brings Wonder Dynamics to Serbia

• Wonder Dynamics is a media-tech startup developing AI production tools that will allow indie filmmakers to deliver blockbuster-level films on a fraction of the budget.

• Wonder Dynamics plans to open a film Studio and bring numerous Hollywood productions to Serbia.

"We are confident AI will create a whole new way of executing the filmmaking process and create even more synergy between the Tech and Film Industry. For this reason Serbia was a perfect location for us since this region has an incredible group of young and talented people among both the VFX artist and the AI engineering community."

Mr. Nikola Todorovic,
Wonder Dynamics

• The world’s largest enterprises rely on Everseen’s AI-driven computer vision solutions to realize transformational outcomes at global scale.

• Everseen’s R&D Center Serbia, started in 2018, is home to 100+ of some of our incredible research & development team members. Their work has greatly contributed to the development of a fourth generation of our AI products.

"Belgrade’s R&D Center contribution has been central to our most recent product innovations and inventions recognized by Google in association with Deloitte Ireland as the best technological innovation in 2020. Belgrade is a great fit for our company’s culture and has brought great value to our organization. We have big plans for our existing and new Belgrade talents”

Alan O’Herlihy
CEO Everseen

Founded in Serbia – winning globally

World's most successful mobile sports game

One of the 50 smartest companies in the world

#1 global developer of HOPA games

Digitalization of human appearance and motion

• The games company with over 170 employees from 20 different countries, recently acquired by Take-Two Interactive for up to $378 million.

• Over 200 million registered users of Top Eleven, Heroic and Golden Boot.

• Launched Nordeus Hub - a free co-working space offering education and mentorship to boost the local gaming ecosystem.

"Serbia’s great advantage lies in the fact that we, as a nation, are naturally inclined towards science, and our most talented pupils and students are attracted to technology."

Mr. Branko Milutinovic,
CEO and co-founder
Nordeus

• 3Lateral is recognized as a leading company developing technologies for digitalization of humans, and recently became a part of Epic Games - Unreal Engine development team.

• Vladimir Mastilovic, founder of 3Lateral (based in Novi Sad), is managing Epic Games’ worldwide digital humans technology development efforts.

"In the future, we are planning to invest significantly into our campus facilities - a center of excellence focused on digital humans related R&D and technologies. We plan to continuously expand our R&D capacities and to closely tie those into our future products. We plan to further expand our team and to share our knowledge and expertise with the broader ecosystem."

Mr. Vladimir Mastilovic,
Founder
3Lateral

Notable acquisitions in the Serbian tech market are worth

Vibrant IT ecosystem

8 universities, 4 Science Technology Parks, 15 startup centers, 20+ co-working hubs, 5 IT clusters and lots of industry events

Digital Serbia Initiative: a non-profit, non-governmental organization with the strategic goal of developing a strong, globally competitive digital economy in Serbia. Founded by leading digital players, it gathers more than 30 member-organizations from all sectors relevant for the growth of a digital ecosystem – including tech, banking and finance, telco, consulting, legal, education and research, media, pharmaceutical, and startup support organizations.

Notable members:

"Serbia has a vibrant IT sector growing more than 25% annually. For years, Serbia has been home to great engineers developing products for global leaders such as Microsoft, Apple and Amazon. Serbs have become great tech entrepreneurs, too, with startups such as Seven Bridges, 3Lateral and Nordeus growing into global leaders."

Mr. Nebojša Djurdjević,
CEO
Digital Serbia Initiative

Vibrant IT ecosystem

Sustainable
talent pool

Top performing talent pool in Serbia - University Education

Academic & master programme 4.0, artificial intelligence majors
> 2 k students per annum & 1st gaming master in SEE

Top performing talent pool in Serbia - High School Education

36 schools with 44 specialised IT courses covering 800 active students per annum

Top performing talent pool in Serbia - Elementary Education

Enabling
business
environment

Enabling regulation

Ease of employment for global talent

Easy to get work permits
New regulations for the employment of foreigners mean that getting a work permit in Serbia is a quick and efficient process, so businesses can easily and quickly scale up.

Strong IP Protection
Serbian IP Protection laws have been updated to reflect contemporary trend and business needs.
They were changed in close cooperation with MNEs, drawing from their global experience, to make Serbian laws fit for purpose in the digital age.

Regulatory sandbox

Companies can benefit from two regulatory sandboxes already in place:

FinTech sandbox, where innovative payment solutions can be tested within a limited market without regular prior registration.
MedTech sandbox, where unregistered medical devices can be imported for R&D on a fast track procedure, if the company is settled in one of Science Technology Parks.

New sandboxes can be introduced if needed.

Strategy for AI development

Four pillars of the strategy

Education

Introducing AI masters and PhD programs and boosting AI talent through retraining workers in AI skills

Economy:

Developing strong verticals like agritech, healthtech and mobility. Making public data open whenever possible.

Science and Innovation:

The Science Fund supports AI research and application. Over 30 projects are aimed to be supported by the end of 2022.

Investing €5M into grants and equity for AI startups in Serbia.

Ethics:

Creating a framework for establishing ethical AI applications.

The Institute for AI R&D

The Institute for Artificial Intelligence Research and Development of Serbia aims to become a producer of AI leaders in Serbia and a hub for AI in the SEE region. The Government's efforts have positioned Serbia as the best regional destination for IT investment and earned the rank of 46th out of 172 countries on the Government AI Readiness Index 2020. It is also the best ranking in the SEE.

The AI Institute will build further on the skills of the existing IT talent pool in Serbia and enable them to build their own cutting-edge companies. It will teach AI skills to new generations of students and enhance the existing IT industry in Serbia, transforming it into a leading AI economy.

The new Law on Digital Assets

Key to Serbia's innovative ecosystem and welcoming business environment is the New Law on Digital Assets, adopted in December 2020. This law recognizes virtual currency and digital tokens as legal digital assets, making Serbia one of a handful of innovative countries in the world to recognize and legalize it.

§ This law enables digital assets to be bought, sold and transferred and used as mediums of exchange. The ability to finance with digital currency will foster development of the capital market, while preventing money laundering and terrorism financing

In parallel, this will support emerging opportunities in blockchain and create new financing options for Serbian startups, encouraging the further growth of the domestic IT sector.

Serbia as a new biomedical hub in Europe

Serbia will soon be home to the BIO4 Campus, a unique complex dedicated to making Serbia a new European hub in biomedicine, bioinformatics, biotechnology and biodiversity.

BIO4 Campus aims to be a landmark on the global map for development of these four themes by serving as a concentration point of people, knowledge and infrastructure in these fields.

The campus will consist of 6 major elements:
- Two scientific institutes: The Torlak Institute for Virology, Vaccines and Sera and IMGGI (Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering)
- Two faculties: The Pharmaceutical Faculty and the Biological Faculty
- Belgrade Science-Technology Park facility for bio4 startups
- R&D centers of pharmaceutical, biomedical and biotechnological companies

The Campus will also have other supporting facilities,including a vivarium, medical center, congressional center, food court, accommodation for the visiting researchers, etc.

Tax incentives

for development of the
knowledge-based economy in Serbia

Tax incentives

for development of the
knowledge-based economy in Serbia

Only 3% corporate income tax (CIT) for revenues from intellectual property developed in Serbia.

Double-counting qualified costs of R&D on income statements lowers CIT.

70% lower tax and contributions for three years for persons entering the job market with a salary equal or higher than the national average (starts in 2022).

You may find more information here.

70% lower tax and contributions for repats and foreigners for 5 years after they settle in Serbia if they have a salary 3x the national average or more.

70% lower tax and contributions for three years for persons entering the job market with salary equal or higher than the national average(starts in 2022).

ESPs are taxed only on capital gains at the moment of sale, with Step Up in Basis for those who come with assets from abroad. ESPs can easily be granted from Serbian or US-based legal entities.

Startup founders pay no salary tax and contributions during the first three years.

CIT credit worth 30% of the investment in a startup.

Tax credit for annual income tax worth 50% of the investment.

Competitive operating costs

Science and Technology Parks offer product development labs, a network of mentors, an environment for high-tech companies, networking with potential partners and investors, knowledge sharing and other necessary assistance for faster development.

Available state-of-the-art high security and reliability data center

The Office for IT and eGovernment has established the State Data Center, which is one of the most modern in the region in terms of technical and security standards and houses key information - communication infrastructure for the Republic of Serbia.

The Center meets the Tier 3+ standard, and its services are provided in accordance with the ISO 27001 security standard, as well as ISO 9001 quality standards and ISO 20000 quality of service. It will enable faster, more efficient and safer electronic administration and will guarantee data security to users.

The Center's services are, in addition to state bodies, also available to commercial users. You can request more information via e-mail - kancelarija@ite.gov.rs.

A great
place to live

A booming tourist destination topping international rankings

With the number of foreign tourists growing 12% every year, Serbia is recognized as a vibrant crossroads of East and West, with a bursting and exciting cultural and social scene.


Belgrade

The largest center of business, education, culture and science.

Often compared to Berlin, Belgrade has a thriving nightlife driven by clubs on the river, with a vibrant atmosphere, abundant street art, and bustling bars and night clubs throughout the city.

Niš

An important international crossroads between South and East. A city with a great historical heritage and tradition, and home to Philip Morris HQ.

Novi Sad

The second largest city in Serbia. A unique university, business, and startup center housing many foreign companies, such as Continental.

Novi Sad is also a cultural hotspot: it is the hometown of Exit, one of the best music festivals in Europe, and was designated the European Youth Capital 2019 and the European Capital of Culture 2021.

Kragujevac

Home to FIAT and the Serbian mobility ecosystem, with a two-century-long industrial tradition and 60 years of experience in automotive production.

SERBIA IS YOUR
OPPORTUNITY
TO OPEN A SECOND
HQ ESTABLISH AN
R&D CENTER

For more information,
please contact us at:
innovations@ras.gov.rs

For more information,
please contact us at:
innovations@ras.gov.rs

Thank you.