Fima enters Belarus

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Fima has established its subsidiary Fima BR in Belarus that will aim at participating in national infrastructure modernisation projects.

“When it comes to application of intelligent technology, the situation in Belarus is the same that Lithuania had 7-10 years ago. Hence, we will be able to use our knowledge and experience in the neighbouring country,” Fima Development Manager Vytautas Zinkevičius has said.

In his words, Belarus has a lot of technologically literate people who have a good grasp of the theoretical basics. All the need is foreign companies to bring in the know-how.

Earlier stepping into the Belarusian market was not attractive because of unfavourable political circumstances like unpredictable actions by the country’s authorities, attempts to control business and the flimsy relations with the European Union.

However the situation has been changing recently. President D. Grybauskaitė has took on a milder tone towards the neighbour, and Belarus itself is making pro-European declarations. For instance, at the Lithuanian – Belarusian economical investment forum that took place this February the representatives of the neighbouring country said they wanted to attract innovative foreign companies to help modernise the country’s infrastructure, thus bringing it closer to the EU level.

V. Zinkevičius says Fima BR will not seek to compete with the local business in Belarus but will rather focus on new niche markets like modernisation of railways, airports and deployment of state-of-the-art data centres.

“We will have to employ patience and persistence for the company to earn a solid foothold in that country. They still have tremendous red-tape with its own rules and totally different attitude towards business. Yet it is worth trying. If it is hard, we are not ruling out the possibility of suspending the expansion,” V. Zinkevičius says.

In his words, what tempts them to take the risk is the enormous Belarusian market with its population of 10 million that is just next door, the capital city of Minsk being a mere 180 km away from Vilnius.