If you live, visit or do business with the Baltic states, the countries you have in mind are Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – the three hidden gems at the shores of the Baltic sea.
Country territories are 50% covered by forests, with countless lakes and rivers. However, it is not only nature that inspires. The countries are in a strategic location and serve as a natural intersection of EU, Nordic, Russian / CIS and Asian economies.
Taking into account seven deep-water, ice-free commercial ports, 4 international airports, and an established railway network, coupled with the largest regional infrastructure project in a century – Rail Baltica [link], poised to provide a high-speed train connection for passenger and cargo flows in the South-North direction, most of the way from Warsaw to Helsinki, by 2025, it is a safe bet to rediscover the region and take part in its rapidly developing economy.
Baltics welcomes investors and occupiers alike in all the main business segments – office, industrial and retail – supported by consistently expanding industries in manufacturing, exports and services, increasing tourism, as well as growing domestic consumption.
• Area: 175,200 sq km
• Population: 6,1 mln
• Native Languages: Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian
• National currency: Euro
• Time zone: GMT + 2
• International dialling code: +371 (LV); +370 (LT); +372 (EE)
• Political system: Republic; parliamentary democracy
• Members of the EU, NATO, OECD, WTO
Business Services in the Baltics
Mobile communications and internet applications are among the most progressive in the world. Baltic countries offer a cost competitive, talented workforce that has already been recognized by a number of shared service and business process outsourcing units, as well as R&D centres opening in the largest cities in the Baltics. As opposed to many other CEE hotspots the cities have a potential to grow further and there is still an unsaturated potential to discover.
Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are consistently rated as top countries for ease of doing business by the Wold Bank (14th, 12th and 21st respectively out of 190, as of 2016)
The Lithuanian capital – Vilnius, has fully justified itself as one of the best destinations for shared service and outsourcing in the CEE region. Service centres of global business leaders such as Barclays, Western Union, Nasdaq, Danske bank, as well as largest Finnish stainless steel producer Outokumpu and many others are already present in Vilnius. Ongoing establishment of several new shared service centres in 2017 and continuous interest from well know international companies generate an optimistic outlook for rapid development of the Business Service Sector in Lithuania.
The second largest city Kaunas is also becoming a popular city and one of the best emerging cities in CEE.
According to the Invest Lithuania, the sector now employs circa 13,000 specialists.
Estonia boasts a profit-orientated and user-friendly business environment, attracting an impressive number of foreign investors and world-renowned international companies to the country – Ericsson, ABB, Kuehne + Nagel, Stora Enso, Symantec, Stoneridge, Vopak EOS, Deutsche Post DHL and many others.
An investment-friendly taxation system, transparent and functioning legislation, economic freedom, ease of doing business rating, per capita investments, the record-low national debt and low corruption index – to list only a few advantages of doing business in Estonia.
The proximity of Estonia to its Northern, Scandinavian neighbour Finland promotes a consistently high level of tourism throughout the year. According to Statistics Estonia and Bank of Estonia, in 2016 foreign nationals made a total of six million visits to Estonia during 2016 whereof more than 3 million domestic and foreign tourists stayed in accommodation establishments.
Riga is the largest Baltic metropolis consisting of close to 700,000 inhabitants and an additional 370,000 in its metropolitan area. It has become a place to be for such large companies as CABOT, Tele2 SSC, DnB bank ASA, Accenture, Circle K, C.T.CO, VISMA and many other, engaging circa 7,800 employees according to data as of May 2017. As this is only 1% of the total population of Riga, the city has considerable potential to develop rapidly, not only in comparison to the largest cities within the CEE region, but also in the context of the other two Baltic capitals.
An additional advantage of Riga is its international airport – the largest in the Baltics. In 2016, the airport served 5.4 million passengers – nearly half of the total passenger traffic of Baltic airports. National airline AirBaltic offers around 80 direct flight connections to major international destinations.