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Poland: The tiger in the back yard

In this day of age, economic growth goes hand in hand with IT developments and IT infrastructure. With this logic in mind, in today`s article we want to zoom in on the best performing economy in the European Union. If the reasoning is correct, following economic growth should lead us straight to one of the most fertile European states in terms of prospective IT innovations.

A Tiger is born

Since the fall of the communist regime in1989, Poland`s economic development was nothing short of spectacular. As most of the eastern-bloc countries, Poland entered the age of free markets in 1991.Not only this was very late, but in terms of economic performance, at that time, the gap between Western and Eastern European nations was enormous. Half of century of centrally planned economy and the impact of the cold war left many former communist countries on the brink of starvation. For example, in 1991 the average workers in Poland were earning less than their counterparts in countries like Gabon, Ukraine or Suriname.

Fast forward thirty years into the future, lo and behold: not only we are looking at the most stable economy of Europe, but 2018 was the apex of the polish economic march. As a recognition of its fast and steady development, as of September 2018, Poland received the status of „developed market” from FTSE Russell, becoming the first country in Eastern and Central Europe to achieve this label. More so, no other country in the world has managed to achieve this status in the last 10 years. This spells serious business, stability and predictability. According to CEO World magazine, in 2018 Poland was the second-best country to invest in, after Malaysia. And by all appearances, the trend seems to continue in 2019 and is predicted to do so in the years to come.

But what about our initial hypothesis, according to which economic growth breeds IT innovation? This is certainly true for the Four Asian Tigers (South Korea,Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore). But is it true for Poland? Let`s take a quick look at some facts that can shed light on this matter.

The investments in modern infrastructure managed to place Poland above countries like the UK or Germany in terms of broadband penetration, speed and usage costs. It is no surprise that the polish e-commerce market is one of the fastest growing in Europe. For example, in 2018, 1 800 internet shops were registered, taking the total of e-commerce sites to somewhere around 31 000. We also must point out that, in terms of logistics, Poland is doing good, but not great. At least compared to other economies in the EU. According to the World Bank Logitics ranking, in 2016 Poland was the 33rd best logistics nation in the world, and in 2018 the 31st. The same ranking shows that 16 other European countries occupy a higher position, with Germany securing the 1st place.

IT entrepreneurship and robotics are a top priority

To close the circle, it seems that Poland is determined to play a key role in the fourth industrial revolution. In January, after a meeting with Sundair Pichai, Google`s CEO, the polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki made a series of very interesting statements. For the sake of our topic, we are most interested in the fact that Poland is determined to focus on developing robotics, artificial intelligence and IT related entrepreneurship. More so, it seems that the polish government is getting directly involved in the planning and development of the 5G infrastructure. According to the CEO of the state-owned telecom group Exatel, the best way of approaching this issue is by forming a consortium of private and state companies… to ensure lower costs and better protection from security threats. And yes, this the last part is a direct reference to Huawey, the Chinese company accused worldwide of illicit intelligence gathering on behalf of the Chinese government.

All in all we are looking at an ideal medium for IT related activities and business, a medium where openness to innovation is a key drive for development. This is one of the main reasons why Sether keeps a close eye on Poland: it can become an important digital hub, and we want to be part of it. 2019 is the year when blockchain and artificial intelligence are seen as two of the most promising internet technologies. Although these have been around for quite a while now, it is only in the last few years that they have truly proved their versatility. Sether believes that marketing management can be taken to the next level by these two concepts. Judging by the way things are going, Poland seems to be one markets that can highly resonate with our view.

No matter which way you look at it, the future is looking good. Corroborating these last pieces of information with the short economical portrait at the beginning, it is safe to say that, in terms of potential, Poland is one of the most attractive countries to invest in. By all accounts, it seems that westerners don`t have to go tiger hunting in the Far East. Surprisingly enough, there are big cats lurking in the back yard too…

 

 

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