Lithuania – an EU location primed for further investment from India

by Gediminas Koryzna

Lithuania’s talent, ecosystem and investor-friendly policies make it an ideal choice for Indian investors from all sectors.

Highlights:

  • Lithuania has an international reputation for excellence in fields such as industry 4.0 manufacturing and Life Sciences.
  • Lithuania’s GBS sector has had a major Indian presence in the form of HCL Technologies.
  • Lithuania has a strong pool of talent skilled in financial services, and especially in financial technologies.
  • Strong government support is a factor that is mentioned time and again by investors who have already set up operations in Lithuania.

With its well-managed economy, dynamic business environment and deep pool of international-grade talent, Lithuania represents an ideal investment location in the EU for Indian investors. This small, agile Baltic country has turned its size to its advantage. The government is ready to listen to investors of all sizes, and quick to implement reforms that help key sectors to thrive – sectors like Global Business Services (GBS), Life Sciences, Fintech, R&D and Manufacturing.

A GBS sector that delivers more for investors

One of the sectors that has flourished in Lithuania in the last six years is Global Business Services (GBS) – there are now more than 80 centres operating, employing over 18,000 specialists. While this sector is already mature, saturation levels remain much lower than comparable locations in the Central and Eastern Europe region.

This low saturation level means investors can far surpass their original plans. For example, Danske Bank initially planned to set up a centre with 350 employees. Today, its Lithuanian team has over 3,800 staff. This extraordinary growth can be explained in a single word – talent. Lithuania boasts multilingual talent with the skills and work ethic to deliver. 90 per cent of the 18,000 specialists currently employed in the sector have a degree. Centres here deliver services in up to 35 languages, making Lithuania ideal for managing customer services for European markets.

Another factor that sets Lithuania’s GBS ecosystem apart is the heavy focus on cutting-edge automation. At the end of 2018, Lithuania-based GBS centres had 617 robots deployed, representing an 80 per cent increase from the previous year. Invest Lithuania, together with Create Lithuania, is working to bring together the IPA community with the goal of making Lithuania the most advanced hub for GBS automation in the region.

A growing Indian GBS presence

Since 2018, Lithuania’s GBS sector has had a major Indian presence in the form of HCL Technologies. HCL operates a team of over 500 specialists in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital. HCL has invested heavily in AI and automation, and the Vilnius team plays a key role in leveraging these capabilities to provide improved user experience to the employees of HCL’s clients. This includes over 80,000 staff at Barclays and several other global clients. The Vilnius centre also provides mainframe services to Barclays.

An EU home for fintechs from around the world

Lithuania’s GBS sector has a significant presence of investors from the banking and financial services sector – Western Union, Swedbank, Danske Bank, SEB, to name a few. And many of these investors develop critical IT solutions for customers in Lithuania. For example, the most popular banking app in Denmark, MobilePay, was developed in Lithuania.

As a result, Lithuania has a strong pool of talent skilled in financial services, and especially in financial technologies. This wealth of expertise has been one of the major drivers of Lithuania’s emergence as a leading fintech hub in Europe. Lithuania is now home to over 170 fintechs from across Europe, North America and Asia.

Lithuanian policymakers offer an open door and a willingness to adapt. Indeed, the Bank of Lithuania has been proactive in driving the development of this industry. But this investor-friendly attitude extends well beyond the fintech industry.

Strong government support for investors

Strong government support is a factor that is mentioned time and again by investors who have already set up operations in Lithuania.

Take Tonbo Imaging, an Indian producer of specialist security and military intelligence products. It set up an R&D centre in Lithuania in the summer of 2018 for the development of autonomous transportation prototypes. And the level of government support offered was a big factor in this global company choosing Lithuania over comparable locations.

As Arvind Lakshmikumar, the Founder and CEO of Tonbo Imaging, explains: “The Lithuanian government’s strong support for new initiatives made the country an ideal location.” The support available to investors includes a triple tax deduction on any R&D expenses and a 50 per cent tax deduction on investments in technology.

Lithuania now has an international reputation for excellence in fields such as industry 4.0 manufacturing and Life Sciences. For example, Lithuania has the fastest growing Life Sciences sector in the EU, with over 8,300 researchers working in this field. Laser production is another specialist industry. Currently, the Lithuanian laser industry supplies more than 50 per cent of lasers for the world’s ultra-short pulse scientific market, and Lithuanian-made lasers are in use on almost every continent. 90 out of the world’s top 100 universities currently use Lithuanian laser systems, and Lithuanian laser products have been chosen by NASA, CERN and world-renowned companies including IBM, Hitachi, Toyota and Mitsubishi.

An ambitious location for ambitious investors

Lithuania’s talent, ecosystem and investor-friendly authorities mean it is primed to deliver growth to Indian investors in a range of sectors. This ambitious, dynamic country is moving forward fast and is ready to help international investors do so as well.

Gediminas Koryzna is Director of Business Development at Invest Lithuania.

About the Author: Gediminas Koryzna