Information & Communications Technology (ICT)
Romania’s IT market is one of the fastest-growing in Central and Eastern Europe, with a 3.1 percent growth rate forecasted from 2017 to 2021, with a value of RON 9.9 billion ($2.47 billion) in 2021.
The local IT market was valued at $6.4 billion at the end of 2019. According to a study conducted by ANIS (Asociația Patronală an Industries de Software și Servicii), exports accounted for 80% of this value.
More than half of the revenues ($2.9 billion) came from large companies with more than 250 employees, with small companies (up to 50 employees) contributing $2.2 billion and mid-market companies (50-249 employees) contributing $1.3 billion.
Bucharest is the country’s IT development center, accounting for 63 percent of revenues, followed by the North-West (18 percent), the West (5 percent), the Central (6 percent), and the North-East (5 percent).
Cybersecurity is a critical component of Romania’s ICT sector. As reported by the National Strategy on Digital Agenda for Romania 2020, a total expenditure of roughly $2.64 billion is required to execute the ICT strategic vision completely.
The Romanian Digital Agenda also establishes priorities for key Romanian economy and society sectors, including employment, research and development (R & R&D), climate change and energy sustainability, education, and combating poverty and social exclusion.
The annual European Cyber Security Challenge, the year’s most important cybersecurity event, was organized in Romania in 2019 by the Romanian Intelligence Service’s Cyberint Center, the national CERT, and the National Association for Information Systems Security (ANSSI). The Romanian National Team was topped European Champion at this event.
Romanian IT and software services
In the medium to long term, the Romanian software and IT services sector is predicted to become the greatest contributor to the country’s GDP.
The Software & IT Services sector accounts for $5.2 billion of the $6.4 billion market value estimated by ANIS at the end of 2019, while various IT market activities account for $1.2 billion.
Research and Development
Romania has a long history of technological research, development, and innovation. Engineers’ technical expertise and lower labor costs have aided in attracting more interesting and significant projects into the local industry. Major university cities with industry clusters include Bucharest, Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Brasov, and Craiova.
Supply and Demand in the Industry
The IT Services and Software market is worth approximately $5.5 billion and is expected to grow at approximately 15% per year through 2021. The domestic market is structured as follows:
- Industry (39%) is the largest buyer, followed by finance (20%), services, and consumers (16 percent )
- Finance (26 percent), services and consumers, telecom, industry, and retail have the highest growth rates.
- Services account for 64% of the market, while products account for 36%.
Romania’s cybersecurity market is still in its early stages. Romania has the highest per capita rate of technology workers in Europe. However, the Romanian cybersecurity market is also open to foreign players, with a strong presence of US suppliers. If you want to enter the Romanian and EU markets, you should be aware of the different restrictions that apply to you.
Bucharest, Romania’s capital city, will host the European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology, and Research Competence Center, a future hub for distributing EU and national funding for cybersecurity research projects, beginning in 2021. Bucharest was chosen from a group of seven cities to host the center.
The role of the EU Cyber Centre is to strengthen the European Union’s resilience, deterrence, and response to cyber-attacks to retain and develop critical cyber-security technological capacities to secure the EU’s Digital Single Market (DSM). Parts of the Digital Europe and Horizon Europe initiatives will be implemented by the Competence Centre via grant allocation and procurement.
In terms of cyber education, more than 15 cybersecurity programs were developed nationwide in over 11 universities and high schools during the 2019-2020 academic year on topics ranging from cybersecurity of military information systems, cryptography, and digital investigations to machine learning and network security.
Bucharest has 5G coverage (provided by the largest telecom operators). Customers who have a 5G subscription and a compatible phone can enjoy maximum download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps.
Selling through a well-established local Romanian channel partner is the most risk-free market entry strategy for most US manufacturers. If you want to compete for national security projects, you may need to have a physical presence in Romania when selling to Romanian government agencies. The collaboration with ANSSI (www.anssi.ro), the most important local cybersecurity association, provides US companies interested in the Romanian market with the best approach to finding partners, market information, and business opportunities with the public sector.
Special incentives are available for expenses incurred due to research and development activities.
Companies can deduct an additional 50% of eligible expenses for research and development. Furthermore, accelerated depreciation may be applied for devices and equipment used in research and development. State aid programs or individual aid may be available for large investments.
Legal frameworks in place to govern the Internet’s usage
A wide range of issues related to e-commerce and online copyrights are regulated by Romanian law, including e-payment and e-signatures.
The government also drafted some laws to ensure the minimum security of digital systems used by the government and national electronic records.
IT employees who provide software development activities are exempt from paying income taxes.
Romania does not tax the earnings of IT employees performing software development activities; as a result, Romania is one of the most competitive outsourcing markets, with an average labor cost of $1,123 for a net salary of $720.
In terms of gender balance, Romania ranks third in EU statistics on women in ICT.
In Romania, 24 percent of ICT graduates are female, resulting in one of the most inclusive and gender-balanced work cultures and environments.
There are significant opportunities for expertise, products, and services that address three key pillars:
- Incident response and disaster recovery
- Software reporting, forensic tools, and a security information team are all available.
- Under the interoperability umbrella, use certified software products and technologies.
- Validation of security environment
- Collaboration between emergency response teams from the private and public sectors, as well as intelligence sharing
- Research on cyber-warfare
- Information exchange, forums, and communities
The European Recovery and Resilience Facility and, later, Romania’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which is based on the green and digital transition, represent one of the most significant opportunities for the Romanian IT&C sector.
IT&C is present in all six plan pillars, but two are particularly relevant to Romanian society’s digital transformation.
The second Pillar (Digital Transformation) is built around four key priorities:
Public services digitalization
– Digital skills
– Secure and resilient digital infrastructures
– Digital transformation of SMEs
With a budget of $2.08 billion, the main component of the second pillar is Governmental Cloud and digital public systems. It consists of four reforms and nineteen investments, including the following: a government cloud, an electronic identity card for 8.5 million people, skilling/up-skilling/re-skilling for 30.000 civil servants and 100.000 citizens, and 65 organizations that will improve their cyber security.
The third support (Smart, Sustainable, and Inclusive Growth), on the other hand, includes an important Component that proposes two reforms and five investments totaling $2.6 billion. Among the outcomes expected from those investments in IT&C are: at least 3000 SMEs will undergo a digital transformation process, funds for digitalization, climate action, and other areas of interest will be managed in collaboration with the European Investment Bank as an implementing partner, or support for at least three organizations with expertise in microelectronics to participate in projects of the European Partnership for Key Digital Technologies.
The Digitalization of the Public Sector and the implementation of associated cybersecurity programs are among the top priorities of the Romanian government’s IT strategy.
The current Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation processes in Romania, pushing both the private and public sectors toward remote working and learning. Despite the disruption, the situation was viewed as an important opportunity for the e-Government implementation strategy. Early adopters of digital transformation hope that this will be a long-term change.
Concerning public school reform in Romania and digital transformation, actions in this field center on digital inclusion, upskilling of ICT competencies, advanced digital skills to enable key emerging and breakthrough technologies, and innovation in the public and private sectors other things.
Projects launched under the framework include distributing ICT equipment (both hardware and software) to schools, with a special emphasis on rural areas, training programs aimed at improving teachers’ digital competencies, raising awareness about digital skills, and initiatives supporting digitalization in the public and private sectors.
With implications for cybersecurity, the Romanian government is preparing to launch the program “Din grijă pentru copii,” which will address concerns about child protection in both the offline and online environments – infrastructure / digital identification, alerting, intervention, and evaluation.
Because of the large volumes of personal data managed by the health system, another critical public sector, the health sector, will become an important buyer of cybersecurity services. Large-scale telemedicine projects are currently being discussed, and they should include a significant cybersecurity component. However, certain steps must be taken before telemedicine projects can be implemented. The most important part is the anticipated additional detailing of the rules for the procedures established by the implementation of Law 362/2018. It was published on January 12th, 2019, and its main goal is to ensure a common high level of network and information system security. This law is directed, among other things, at medical service providers (public or private).
There are also opportunities in the private sector to supply organizations of all sizes, ranging from SMEs to large corporations. Currently, an enterprise application is significantly lower than the EU-28 average. As a result, there is a great opportunity for businesses to target enterprises by providing low-cost solutions. The most significant opportunities exist in organizations where IT security is critical:
- Financial, banking, and insurance sectors
- Critical infrastructure networks (energy and utilities)
- Telecommunications (Telco)