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AFP: IT outsourcing boom boosts struggling Bulgaria

August 11, 2014

After a timid start 15 years ago, the Balkan country is now a hub for information technology and back-office outsourcing, reported AFP.

As well as call centres, firms offering software and web development, data services and technical support are attracting business from foreign companies finding it cheaper to sub-contract abroad. Growth in the sector has rocketed at up to 25 percent annually in recent years, helping Bulgaria's economy to rebound to growth of 0.9 percent in 2013 after shrinking 5.0 percent in 2009.

The 22,000 people employed in outsourcing generated up to three percent of Bulgaria's gross domestic product in 2013, according to the Bulgarian Outsourcing Association, with turnover of more than one billion leva (510 million euros, $685 million).

The industry profits from top-quality IT specialists, as well as the wide range of over 20 languages other than English taught in Bulgarian high schools and universities.

A number of global players have also set up shop in Bulgaria including Adecco, IBM and Sutherland. Coca Cola HBC opened its own back-office services centre in Sofia in 2005 and is now serving 26 countries from here. It was followed by Hewlett-Packard, which opened a global delivery centre in 2006 and picked Bulgaria as one of its six "delivery hubs" in 2010.