Romania is known for its strong computing and language skills coupled with cheap labor.
IT is one of Romania’s fastest growing export sectors with turnover of about 1 billion euros ($1.38 billion).
Roughly 90 percent of some 1,000 IT companies in Romania are foreign-owned and the government hopes exports will reach 1 billion euros in the next couple of years.
In February, Bill Gates opened a Microsoft Corp. technical support center in Bucharest. The investment followed, among others, the launch of a development center by Amazon.com Inc in the university town of Iasi in 2005.
That is the online retailer’s only software development hub in Europe besides one in Scotland’s Edinburgh.
The creativity of Romanian programmers, prospects for large cash inflows from the European Union after Romania joined the bloc this January, cut-rate taxes and low wages add to Romania’s appeal.
“In Eastern Europe, Romania is appreciated as having the biggest growth potential together with Turkey and Russia,” said Stefan Cojanu, head of Oracle Corp in Romania.
The software maker, which has a support and software development center in Romania, has doubled its local staff to 1,000 over the last year since opening a tower office in central Bucharest. It plans to hire an additional 500 employees.
“The geographical distance, the similar time zone and business mentality argue for us to develop our activities in a country where costs are also lower,” Cojanu said.
Romania’s low wages of around $600 a month compare with $1,050 in Poland and $950 in the Czech Republic. Both countries also attract hefty investment in the IT sector.