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Armenia’s IT Advantage in Iranian Market
Economy, Sci & Tech

Armenia’s IT Advantage in Iranian Market

The lifting of sanctions is an excellent opportunity for Armenia’s entrepreneurs, especially those in information and high technology sectors to enter the Iranian market.
For Armenian IT companies interested in foreign markets, Iran has a potential of becoming a huge testing ground as well as a good development platform where foreign competitors have not yet positioned themselves, according to Itel.am.
According to statistics, half of Iran’s 78 million population are smartphone users; the number of users is expected to double in March 2016.  This means that alongside technological products, new mobile apps will be of high interest.
Narine Daneghyan, Armenian journalist, talked to a number of Yerevan IT companies to know their interest in exporting their products to the Iranian market.
Zangi Company, with the mobile app of the same name, has around 400,000 downloads daily and 5,000 of them are from Iran.
“Our company has always been interested in Iran. Zangi is promoted there organically without any mediation," noted Zangi team member, Arthur Avetisyan.
Supposedly, Iranian-Armenians or relatives of Iranians living in Armenia constitute the majority of its current users in Iran.
“Zangi allows making high-quality video and audio calls even in case of very poor connection, exchange interactive messages, photos and videos. Taking into account the Internet issues in Armenia, it addresses a very urgent issue," Avetisyan said.
gg Company, which has recently launched ggGeorgia brand in Tbilisi, is going to enter the Iranian market as well this year.
“We can’t be late. It’s desirable for us to enter the market in the first half of the year. I personally call upon all Armenian businessmen who have competitive products to take the Iranian market very seriously to get positioned there as soon as possible,” said gg co-founder Khachatur Grigoryan.
He has noted that besides Tehran, they are going to enter other Iranian cities—Tabriz in the first instance—due to its geographical position.
Teamable, another Armenian company that facilitates HR management, is also interested in entering the Iranian market.
“Iran is a very interesting market for us as in the near future it is going to [grow] at a rapid pace. We have not clearly planned when we will enter the market, as first we should “teach Persian” to the system,” noted the company’s co-founder, Vazgen Hakobjanyan.
There is a lack of innovative solutions in the Iranian market
Startup Armenia co-founder, Hayk Asriyants, finds Iranian market an attractive one for Armenian IT.
The Iranian economy is ranked 28th in the world, according to the World Bank’s initial indicators, and the GDP of the country is $425 billion. Only 4-6 % of the population are considered poor, if we consider $2.5-3.5 daily expenses as poverty level.
"At the same time, Iran had high unemployment in 2014 (11.4%), although the government had decided to reduce this number to 7% by creating new workplaces this year,” he said.
Asriyants thinks it’s worth mentioning that some foreign IT platforms and products are banned in Iran.
“This encouraged the local businessmen develop their Iranian versions, while there is a lack of innovative solutions in the market. As a result, an interesting competitive atmosphere has been created and, I think, Armenian companies may be very successful there,” he said.
According to Asriyants, it is important to use Armenian-Iranian trade and cultural connections established by Iranian-Armenians based in Armenia and the Armenian community in Iran to create a bridge to the country.

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