Source: eKapija | Sunday, 16.01.2022.| 11:38
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World’s First Gaming Village, Global Leader in Serbia, Software More Valuable Than Agriculture – 2021 Retrospective, Investments in Telecommunications and IT

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Illustration (Photo: Mikhail Starodubov/shutterstock)
When looking at the history of a business sector, there’s always that one year that is the turning point in the development, and 2021 was, without a doubt, that year for the IT sector in Serbia. According to the data of the National Bank of Serbia, last year, the IT industry reached exports of EUR 1.5 billion, exceeding agricultural production. A double-digit growth of as much as 28% was recorded, and the total value of the industry exceeded EUR 3 billion.

The statistical data was also followed by dynamic changes in the market. Products made by our programmers and engineers won the world market. What especially drew attention from the expert public were numerous investments related to the creation of business hubs and centers for the development of startups, gaming villages and numerous other centers dedicated to new technologies. On the other hand, last year was also marked by acquisitions which exceeded hundreds of millions of euros.

The readers of the eKapija portal also noticed that something very important was going on in the IT sector. You gave plenty of attention to this field, and these are the most read stories in 2021:
(Photo: Maglian apartmani Divčibare/Facebook)

1. Maglian – Unique Center for IT Industry

The company Autology d.o.o. from Belgrade has launched an ambitious project of the construction of a center meant for IT industry with a concept of a coliving and coworking space. The realization of the investment, whose value is between 6 and 7 million euros, started back in 2019.

What’s specific about the complex is that, on a plot of land of 2 hectares, facilities that are to be built will take up only 7% of the space. Everything else will be turned into a park in order to make the stay and work of IT professionals as pleasant as possible. The plan is to establish a mini lake with a beach bar and spaces for decking rest in the center, and a special place for working in nature will be provided as well.

The entire complex will spread on around 8,000 m2 with 72 accommodation units, which will feature 150 beds. Facilities of around 1,000 m2 are planned as the coworking space.

– Maglian consists of several facilities. The first and the second will feature apartments and the coworking space, and the third will feature a reception hall, a restaurant, a wine bar, a digital café (fast café) and a Zen center, saunas, massage rooms and “surprise showers”, as well as a mini conference hall, a coworking space and a certain number of exclusive rooms. Each of these facilities is meant for a certain segment of the IT industry, one for startups, another for digital nomads and a third one for companies, each with its own coworking space – Autology told eKapija in April and added that all the apartments had been sold out.
(Photo: Delta Holding)

2. e-Commerce Ananas

The year 2021 was the second year marked by the coronavirus pandemic. Since the infectious disease started spreading, the economy has realized that digitalization is the best way to continue working in the changed conditions. After the initial adaptation, numerous companies started presenting their digital business solutions. The Ananas online trading platform by Delta Holding drew a lot of attention.

Delta announced in early 2021 that, with the new platform, they wanted to enter the world of online commerce, but with the goals set very high. They want to turn the app which provides a unique experience to its users into a regional giant which offers a wide range of goods through the biggest suppliers in the market.

– With the financial strength and investing experience that Delta has, we are convinced that we can create a regional giant in online trade. Ananas will offer users something they are not used to in local trade and which only the largest global traders, such as Amazon or AliExpress, have. Initially, we will cover the market of Serbia, but the intention is to soon expand to the other markets of former Yugoslavia, plus Albania – said Marija Desivojevic Cvetkovic, the vice president for strategy and development at Delta.

As time passed, the Ananas platform was getting closer to its launch. The final tests were done in August, focusing on user experience and market research, so as to ensure a service which stands out in the market.

– For that reason, we have already carried out numerous surveys, but also picked the tools that enable the sellers to offer the right product at the right moment simply and easily. The biggest difference will be in the user perception through each of the phases of online shopping – from browsing the products, ordering, to the payment and the delivery. In addition to the unique user experience, sophisticated design, user support, safe transactions and delivery, Ananas connects the sellers and the purchasers on a reliable regional online shopping platform – Rajko Mandic, CEO of Ananas, revealed for our portal.

Slightly after the completion of the beta version, the platform started working. For now, products are offered in the Serbian market, and the expansion to the entire region and Albania is expected soon. Time will show how the set goals are realized, but considering the attention given to this platform, a lot is expected from Delta in this trade segment.
(Photo: Kuzmanov and partners/ Vizuelizacija CASE 3D)

3. Solution for Radnicki Univerzitet Building, Symbol of Ruin in Novi Sad

The rise of the IT industry in the market has created a new need for the expansion of the office space of successful companies. Vega IT from Novi Sad bought the building of Radnicki Univerzitet (Workers’ University) in this city for EUR 5.26 million. In early 2021, a closed contest for an architectural design of the building which has been deteriorating for 21 years, was published.

Kuzmanov and partners form Novi Sad, Zabriskie Studio from Belgrade, Remorker Architects from Belgrade and Synthesis Quatro from Novi Sad took part in the invitation-based contest. Kuzmanov and partners won with its design, which preserves the identity of the building, while also giving a new dimension to the functionality.

– The idea behind the architecture of the new building is to preserve the identity of the facility through the recognizability of modern design and the use of new materials and modern coverings. An important guiding principle in forming the design was to preserve the vertical character of the facility in order to preserve the slenderness of the composition. The introduction of a framework which encompasses the facility has a functional and visual sense. A framework thus conceived gives character to the facility, frames it as a painting, while still functionally covering the elements of the façade. The attractive look of the facility with sparse architectural features gives off the impression of the elegance of PALATA VEGA RADNICKI and thereby, through its character and clear aesthetic, enables the recognizability of the brand built by the company VEGA IT – said the senior partner and founder of Kuzmanov and partners, Lazar Kuzmanov.

The contest ended in March, when Vega IT announced that the preparation of an interior architectural design and the reconstruction, which is awaited impatiently in Novi Sad, would begin.
(Photo: Iryna Tiumentseva/shutterstock.com)

4. Global Gaming Industry Leader in IT Market in Serbia

One of the biggest mergers in the IT market in Serbia was announced in 2021. Take-Two Interactive and Nordeus, a local brand, the creator of one of the most successful video games for mobile platforms, Top Eleven, embarked on a joint mission to conquer the gaming market. The value exceeded USD 378 million, with USD 225 million paid in cash, and the merger also defines percentages from future income.

Take-Two Interactive is one of the biggest gaming companies, which owns Rockstar Games and 2K, developers of some of the most prominent game series in the industry, such as Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead, Bioschock and many others.

The news of the arrival of this global gaming leader to the Serbian market has created room for much more attention to be paid to the gaming industry. This segment has been overlooked in the past. Development potentials have often been neglected, but after the good growth in 2020 and this success, a great boost to the development of creative potentials in Serbia’s IT industry is expected.
(Photo: YouTube/screenshot)

5. World’s First Gaming Village

Not long after the epochal merger of a local company with one of the global leaders in the gaming industry was made public, the opening of the world’s first gaming village in Serbia was announced.

Relog Media, the largest e-sport production house in the Balkans, together with TV Arena Esport, premiered its project of the construction of the first Gaming Village in Serbia and the world at the Serbia Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. The village will soon open and become available for the organization of the world’s biggest e-sport tournaments.

The first built-to-purpose Gaming Arena in the world will be built within the Gaming Village, with 10,000 seats, which will be meant for the organization of large world e-sport tournaments, which are visited by an increasing number of people each year.

According to the preliminary announcements, the Gaming Village will contain: an office space, the Faculty for Esport and Gaming, a management building, a five-star hotel which will have 300 luxuriously equipped rooms, numerous cafes and restaurants which will be available to the guests of the Gaming Village, but also a large spa center and an Olympic pool.

The entire project is designed in order for Serbia to take a good position in the video games market, which is growing at an increasing pace year after year, as soon as possible. At the same time, the aim is for the country to be included on the list of the organizers of the biggest tournaments with a considerable number of visitors thanks to this gaming village. No less important is the popularization of esport, as well as local competitors in the field in which a big increase in the number of participants and professionals is recorded.
(Photo: Instagram Igor Mirović)

6. Construction of New BioSense Institute

Another investment project is on this list. At the beginning of last year, the president of the Provincial Government, Igor Mirovic, announced the construction of a new building of the BioSense Institute in Novi Sad.

The European Investment Bank gave final approval for the construction project in late January, on which occasion Mirovic announced that the works would begin several weeks later.

What’s especially important regarding this facility is that the most modern construction technology, with special antivibration characteristics, would be implemented. Thanks to this, this will be a unique facility in Serbia, which will allow the implementation of the most sensitive agricultural research technologies as part of the institute’s operations.

For this project, Serbia got a loan of EUR 11 million from the European Investment Bank, and under the agreement on financing signed in 2017, the state is to invest EUR 3 million within Phase 2 of the Antares project. Around EUR 4.5 million will be spent on the construction of the building, whereas EUR 9.5 million is planned for modern scientific equipment.
(Photo: Pixabay / StartupStockPhotos)

7. Register of Administrative Procedures of eGovernment

An important segment of IT development in Serbia is the integration of new technologies with the public administration.

The news from this field that attracted a lot of attention from our readers is the opening of the Register of Administrative Procedures portal.

The register enables business people to more efficiently carry out the administrative part of their operations. To all of them, request forms and information about the necessary documentation, account numbers and fees and compensations are available in a single place. Along with the basic data, other important information is available at the portal, which help finish the necessary procedures as soon as possible.

The register is supposed to reduce queuing at counters and enable entrepreneurs to finish administrative procedures without having to go and wait at the counter.
(Photo: Rasulov/shutterstock.com)

8. Telekom and Telenor – Controversial Cooperation

Last on the list of the most read stories from the field of IT in the past year is the news that Telekom Srbija and Telenor Srbija addressed the Commission for Protection of Competition with the request for each to be individually exempt from the ban on agreements on restricted and defined business cooperation in a certain business segment.

The story begins with the announcement of Telenor that it intends to actively participate in the market of providing the services of an internet provider and TV content through the cooperation with Telekom. After the information was announced, the critical part of the public opposed the cooperation, because it caused suspicion that the merger aims to reduce the market share of the competitor SBB.

However, the subsequent announcements said that it was no merger, but the kind of cooperation that is recognized in European countries. According to Telekom, the aim is to enable the liberalization of the optical infrastructure in Serbia, following the liberalization of the copper infrastructure.

Finally, the controversial cooperation has been solved by Telenor’s now offering a new service in the market, Hipernet.

N. Ignjatovic

We presented the list of the most read news about investments in telecommunication and IT industry, and the full list can be seen HERE.

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