IBM to Open a European Technical Support Centre in Croatia?

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Computer giant coming to Croatia?

According to a statement by Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković during yesterday’s cabinet meeting, Croatia could soon get one of its first major investments coming from the ICT sector. “In recent days, I have met with a number of businesspeople, especially from the IT sector, and we had a meeting with potential investors”, said Orešković, without specifying who the investor was, reports Vecernji List on February 19, 2016.

Today, government sources claim that Prime Minister Orešković has recently met with high-ranking managers of IBM. It seems that the American technology giant plans to open in Croatia a technical support centre. It would be a very significant project and negotiations have been ongoing for six months, starting during the term of the former government. It is expected that the agreement could be reached soon, perhaps by the end of March.

The investment would be carried out in several stages and would ultimately employ up to 800 people. The centre will likely be located in Zagreb, and it would probably be a European rather than a regional centre. Although the investment would be carried out by a major IT company, it would not be a “real” IT investment, since it would not require hiring a significant number of IT engineers. Such centres do not need a large number of highly educated engineers because no new software or software solutions are developed there. However, it could certainly be a springboard for young people who would be able to include in their CVs the experience of working for IBM. Of course, any kind of investment is important in Croatia’s current economic situation.

Some of the Croatian IT entrepreneurs have already met with the new ministers, but a meeting with the prime minister which has been requested by the Croatian Employers’ Association and some other organizations has still not been scheduled.

Ante Mandić, head of IN2, a large Croatian IT company, met with Economy Minister Tomislav Panenić. They talked about problems in the industry and what can be done in the short term to help local companies invest and hire new employees. The problems are numerous, but not insurmountable. At least, all the companies should be covered by a single ministry, because now the smaller companies are in the Ministry of Entrepreneurship, while the large ones belong to the Ministry of Economy. Also, some parts of the ICT industry are covered by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, and some by the Ministry of Administration Affairs.

Unfortunately, the announcement of Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butković that he would create a unit in his ministry devoted specially to ICT sector has not come to fruition. The unit which will include the ICT industry will be headed by Jure Šarić, who is more interested and involved in air traffic affairs.


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