BUT SOME AREAS NEED SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT

The internet economy grows in Slovakia

THE INTERNET economy – business conducted via transactions on the internet – makes up a significant portion of Slovakia’s economy and has strong prospects for future growth. If the country manages to improve its weak points, such as the low number of households with broadband internet connections, limited business-to business online transactions, poor-quality services in ecommerce, and underdeveloped online government services – experts believe that significant future growth could be in prospect.

Firms are seeking more online shoppers in Slovakia.Firms are seeking more online shoppers in Slovakia. (Source: SME)

THE INTERNET economy – business conducted via transactions on the internet – makes up a significant portion of Slovakia’s economy and has strong prospects for future growth. If the country manages to improve its weak points, such as the low number of households with broadband internet connections, limited business-to business online transactions, poor-quality services in ecommerce, and underdeveloped online government services – experts believe that significant future growth could be in prospect.

The internet economy, in which consumers and sellers use the internet to carry out economic transactions, now has a direct impact on many countries’ economies. Google Slovensko estimates that the internet economy currently accounts for about 3.3 percent of Slovakia’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“This figure is at the moment larger than the impact of the telecommunications or banking sector on GDP,” Rasťo Kulich, country manager of Google Slovensko, said at a press conference marking the first year of Google’s office in Slovakia. “This means that it is already a significant part of the economy and Slovakia belongs among those countries where this figure is considerable. But still, compared with 4.1 percent on average in the European Union and 4.5 percent in the Czech Republic, Slovakia has space to catch up.”

The results of the study, which Google Slovensko conducted with the Boston Consulting Group and published in June 2012, is entitled Slovakia Online: How the Internet is Transforming the Slovak Economy. Finance Ministry State Secretary (i.e. deputy minister) Peter Pellegrini said it contained some surprises.

“I was surprised by the percentage and the impact of the internet economy and its growth potential,” Pellegrini stated, as quoted by the SITA newswire. He said that he expected that with further development of technology as well as greater use of EU funds, Slovakia could rank among those EU countries with the strongest internet economies.

Róbert Kičina, the executive director of the Business Alliance of Slovakia (PAS), said he hopes that the internet economy in Slovakia will continue to improve.

“For now Slovakia is lagging behind more developed markets but with quality telecommunications infrastructure and growing competition between companies within Slovakia as well as from international competition, I expect intensive development of the internet economy in Slovakia,” Kičina told The Slovak Spectator.

According to the IT Association of Slovakia (ITAS), the attitude of Slovak entrepreneurs towards the internet and its role in business is pragmatic.

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