A: November 11, is the day of highest importance for Polish Nation. In fact this special day commemorates the November 11, 1918 when Poland regained independence after 123 years of captivity. To give you brief view on European history in 1795 Poland lost independence being divided by Russia, Prussia (currently Germany) and Austria. During 123 years Polish divided Nation managed to maintain its origin and national identity showing strength and unity to its occupants. Currently we celebrate November 11 with pride and recognition for the generations which managed to give us freedom and independence.
Q: What is your opinion on Poland's IT Industry in general
A: First of all to answer this question I should touch upon Polish economy in general. EU accession and rapid reforms of Polish economy including privatization of industries and inflow of foreign direct investments gave us the position of the economic leader of the Central Eastern European region. Currently Polish economy is considered as modernized with increasing GDP and stable business environment secured by low inflation.
Modernization of Polish economy is related to introducing new technologies in industry and shifting the share of GDP from old, labor and material intensive industries to modern, highly added value sectors.
From this perspective IT industry plays important role for our economy in general. In fact, development of IT industry in Poland is one of the main goals for Polish government setting up the targets to create Knowledge Based Economy and Information Society. IT industry belongs to fastest growing sector of Polish economy. Development of software applications, Mobile telephony network coverage, use of internet as well as digital media broadcasting are also supposed to raise on importance in the coming future. This is mainly due to the fact that Poland becomes platform for operations for foreign companies but also raise of Polish based IT business is very well marked indeed.
To give you some statistics Polish IT industry represents over 2 times higher growth rate than annual growth of Polish GDP. Polish GDP growth amounted to 6,2% in 2006 and is estimated at over 5% in 2007. This makes IT sector one of the most dynamically developing sectors of Polish economy and shows that Polish market is still not saturated. Secondly, according to the forecasts during next 3 years, the market will continue to grow at the high rate aiming at 10%. Practical examples about Polish IT business: Poland has by far the largest number of Internet users among the new members of the European Union. Considering the future growth it offers also the highest potential due to society size larger that all new member states combined.
Recently Poland became active producer and exporter of IT solution. The IT exporter club, set up to support products and services trade of Polish companies, has currently 188 members engaged in European and international projects. Competitiveness of IT export is however not the only feature of Polish IT industry at present.
The forefront of over 6 thousand IT companies active on the Polish market includes both Polish branches of the world's top corporations like ABC Data/Actebis, HP, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and also Polish companies well known in EU like Action, ComputerLand, JTT Computer, Prokom Software, Softbank. It shows that Poland is well recognized place for investing in IT business but also develops IT solutions using its domestic human resources as well as R&D. Companies located in Poland offer full scope of IT services for all type of industries. At the end it should be mentioned that sales of desktops, notebooks and mobile phones records dynamics of almost 30% annually!
Q: Please touch upon Poland Government's interest fields to upgrade any specific IT areas among others.
A: Among sectors which are of highest importance for Polish government I should definitely mention development of modern software design and implementation centers. First of all, this type of activity creates products and services with highest added value, contributing considerable amounts to overall economy. Secondly, it creates technological development in other sectors of the economy enabling and stimulating better allocation of resources. Thirdly, this type of activity is in line with the governmental program towards knowledge-based economy (KBE). Importance of IT related industry requires outstanding qualifications and skills. For Polish economy it means development of research & developmentcenters as well as modern educational system to keep pace with IT world leaders.
Polish government runs special programs for IT centers locating in Poland. Also our accession in European Union in 2004 enabled allocation of significant sources for setting up of the activities mentioned above. Speaking about upgrade of IT areas we can not forget about Digital Media Broadcasting and WIBro technologies which are crucial areas of information management in all developed economies.
Q: How much are Korean companies involved to Poland's IT industry at present and what is the outlook for them to be able to enlarge their market or influence in Poland
A: First of all I would like to state my general appreciation to Korean IT industry as the state of the art technology like DMB or WIBro developed by Korean companies is the highest and fastest widespread world quality. Secondly Korea belongs to world leaders in several areas like for example internet network coverage per capita in the society.
All these aspects indicate clearly that Korea and Korean IT business is good benchmarking point for Poland and Polish companies involved in IT activity. Concerning involvement of Korean companies in IT business in Poland there are at least 3 points to enumerate: Samsung Electronics is developing large IT Center in Warsaw (Poland's capital) with over 500 engineers and IT specialist employed. Current scope of activity covers software development for LCD and mobile telephony which are produced in neighboring countries. Warsaw office is undoubtedly 1 of biggest commitments for Polish IT business by foreign companies.
Korean based company Humax is developing software for setup boxes in Warsaw. This was the first R&D office in Poland to develop IT solutions for TV transmission systems. LG Philips. Currently this is the biggest Korean investment in Poland. Investment commenced in 2005 will generate over 12,000 direct manufacturing jobs, together with LG suppliers. Production of LCD monitors which represent highest technology will soon require development of IT solutions on site, so I deeply believe and encourage LG authorities to establish software development institute in Poland.
Needless to say, Korean IT companies are warmly welcome in our country. The influence on Polish market that I would like to achieve is mainly transfer of technology and activation of potential Polish IT and software suppliers offering state of the art IT solution still at competitive prices. Let me just summarize that the cost of IT engineer in Poland can be 2-3 times lower than corresponding service obtained in Western European countries.
Therefore benefits from Korean companies engagement in Poland would be definitely mutual.
Q: Please touch upon the commercial possibility in Poland Korea's IT technology & products such as DMB&WiBro etc. including the other IT technology could be applied to the citizens of Poland.
A: First of all I should express my word of congratulations for technological development because as far as I know Korea was the first country which officially developed DMB system and was in fact the first country to launch DMB in 2005 under National IT program. Considering Poland, our country is open for this technology in commercial terms. Current trials of DMB implementation are not that advanced as in Korea however several companies offer already DMB systems for automobiles and increase of interest can be noticed for mobile telephony.
As you know the development of competitive IT solutions took place in Europe under the name of DVB-H (namely Digital Video Broadcasting . HandHeld) which can offer a downstream channel at high data rates which can be used as standalone or as an enhancement of mobile telecommunication networks. I believe that this is also one of the solution which could be applied to the citizens of Poland. In fact our market is open for all technologies so the first company to get the license for broadcast is in fact market winner.
Among the mostly needed IT solutions for rapid development I see also UMTS cellular networks which start operation in Poland from 2009. I also see great potential in further application of Broadband Wireless Internet. Here again there is a great chance for Korea to commercialize its inventions like WiBro solutions. Among others, I am deeply convinced about good opportunities for Wimax which virtually offers similar features to WiBro.
Q: In terms of IT, please speak about IT investment possibilities in Poland for Korean investors.
A: Poland, with its market potential belongs to one of key targets for Korean companies. Besides, with its increasing ratio of well educated IT engineers available widely at competitive labor rates, it becomes and ideal platform for West and East European IT operations for Korean companies. As already proved by main world players from IT sector like ABC Data/Actebis, HP, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP or Lucent Technologies Poland is not only a sales market or manufacturing hub, but mainly the center of creative ideas and new technological solutions. According to Eurostat 2005, Poland offers larger pool of scientists and engineers in IT sector than Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia combined.
Availability of scientists at current R&D centers (almost 500,000 people) makes Poland a significant location for upcoming Korean IT investments in 2008. Taking into account all the mentioned advantages of Poland, I will recommend all Korean IT companies to consider investment possibilities in Poland and treat our country Knowledge Based Outsourcing (KBO) potential.
In Research and Development field best opportunities exist in the area of centers for design and engineering as well as software development, application testing, application design and implementation. Currently Poland offers already over 200 companies involved in this business as outsourcing partners.
Q: Please introduce prominent IT exhibitions or conventions in Poland so that Korean participants can attend to explore new business opportunities.
A: Poland welcomes Korean companies with trade and exhibition facilities in main cities of the country. The tradition of fairs and exhibition in Poland is as long as 19th century and developed also into IT conventions and shows. Korean companies interested in Polish fairs can search several recommended databases like www.targi.com and www.polfair.com.pl. Both sides are available in English language and offer updated information about exhibition profiles.