Economy of Belgrade
The total GDP of Belgrade for 2014 is estimated at US$16.97 billion, which equates to US$10,086 per capita in real terms – given an estimated 2014 population of 1,682,934 (based on Census 2011 results). GDP at purchasing power parity is estimated at US$36.1 billion, which is US$21,461 per capita in terms of purchasing power parity.
Growth of investments in Belgrade
The troubled political and economic transition during the 1990s left Belgrade, like the rest of the country, severely affected by an internationally imposed trade embargo. The hyperinflation of the Yugoslav dinar, the highest inflation ever recorded in the world, decimated the city's economy In the competition for European cities and regions of the future in 2006 and 2007, organized by the Financial Times magazine, Belgrade was proclaimed “City of the Future in Southern Europe” on March 16 in Cannes. Apart from Belgrade, awards also went to Paris as the “City of the Future in Western Europe”, Brno as the “City of the Future in Central Europe”, Baku as the “City of the Future in Eastern Europe” and London as the “City of the future in Northern Europe”, which was also named “European City of the Future 2006/07”.
The latest greenfield investments are also being increasingly realized in Zemun, the part of the city which will soon be on a par, according to investments, with New Belgrade, where the largest construction works have been carried out so far. The mayor expects foreign capital to start arriving faster in Belgrade and Serbia, which is also the precondition for the opening of new jobs and the start of new programs.
The competition for “Cities and Regions of the Future” is organized by the specialized edition of the Financial Times for foreign direct investments – FDI Magazine, and this prestigious annual award is presented for all the continents. The award also represents a recommendation of the world’s leading economic magazine for the locations where one should invest, since it is based on criteria such as economic potential, operating costs, human resources, transport, IT and telecommunication, as well as the quality of life for foreign investors.
In the recent years, investment climate in Belgrade and Serbia have been improved. The country is in the process of negotiating the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union, and is the world’s leading reformer as stated by the World Bank. In addition, the pace of structural reforms is ahead of that in other transition countries according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Many notable Serbian companies are based in Belgrade, such as Jat Airways, Telekom Srbija, Telenor Serbia, Delta Holding, Elektroprivreda Srbije, Komercijalna banka, Imlek, Ikarbus, Štark, Post Serbia, Galenika a.d., Yugoimport SDPR, Pink International Company...
Regional centers for AXA, Société Générale, Motorola, Mubadala, Arabtec, Samsung, MTV Adria, Kraft Foods, Carlsberg, OMV, Delhaize Group, Unilever, General Electric, Zepter, Maquet, Japan Tobacco, Sinohydro Corporation, Procter & Gamble, and many others. Stocks are traded at the Belgrade Stock Exchange.
With 6,924 companies in the IT sector (2013 data[update]), Belgrade is one of the information technology centers in this part of Europe, with strong growth. Microsoft Development Center located in Belgrade was at the time of its establishment fifth such center in the world. Many world IT companies choose Belgrade as regional or European center such as Asus, Intel, Dell, Huawei, NCR etc. What brought companies like Microsoft in the first place was a large pool of talented engineers and mathematicians in a lower wage country and these major investments had by 2011 generated over €200 million in exports. Nordeus, a local video game startup, is one of Europe's fastest growing gaming companies. In just five years of operation, Nordeus has grown to over 150 employees and €64 million of yearly sales. In just the first quarter of 2016, more than US$65 million has been raised by Serbian startups including US$45 million for Seven Bridges (a Bioinformatics firm) and US$14 million for Vast (a data analysis firm). Also in 2016, a Belgrade-based website AskGamblers which is generating over €810,000 in revenue and €620,000 in profits was sold to Catena Media for €15 million, all 30 employees will continue to work as normal. The startup community is helped by a non profit organization called Startit which is an active community that acts as an incubator for new companies. Startit raised US$108,000 from its Kickstarter campaign in 2015, allowing it to expand its Belgrade center and build a second center in Inđija which was completed February 2016. Other exiting developments include an Agriculture Drone startup that uses drones for land surveying, TeleSkin an app which can identify and track skin cancer and there was another successful Kickstarter for Hexiwear a customizable smartwatch for developers. Progress in Serbian IT over the last six years has been tremendous with the fast growth only increasing as Serbia's many talented engineers, scientists and mathematicians break into this new industry where gross salaries average €2,000 per month (far more than the €600 national average).
As a leading educational center in Serbia comprising 62 university-level institutions, Belgrade boasts well educated, fast learning, multilingual and IT literate labor force. Over 8,000 students graduate from Belgrade University every year, with 1/3 of them adding to the traditionally strong engineer base. According to the Gallup International, the percentage of English speakers is the highest in Central and Eastern Europe, and an increasing number of western business schools open their affiliates in Belgrade.
Location and infrastructure
Belgrade is located in the center of South East Europe, at the intersection of the strategic transportation corridors No. 10 and No. 7 linking Western and Central Europe with the Middle East. It is lying at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube river.
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