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Cyprus competes for UK tech investors in a post-Brexit world

Many UK technology companies fail to reach their full potential because they don’t think about overseas markets, according to techUK.

Simon Spier, Head of International Trade at techUK, which represents over 900 tech companies, said:

“One of the key challenges we have found is that it doesn’t occur to companies they can be an exporter. This is something that comes up again and again. It isn’t on their radar.”

“What we say is that if your product is doing well in the UK, then there’s a good chance it will do well in other markets. The trick is doing the analysis and understanding which markets best match your offering.”

Simon Spier was speaking during a London conference Beyond Brexit: How To Grow a Tech Business in Uncertain Times where Cyprus laid out its offer to UK tech companies looking to expand or to retain links in the European Union following Brexit, through establishing their regional or global headquarters on the island. Vying to attract tech businesses to boost its growing ICT sector, Cyprus is offering a competitive Intellectual Property regime with significant tax advantages, backed by government funding and incentives for new businesses.

Major tech companies currently based in Cyprus are already using the island as a base for software development, system integration and testing services and R&D activities. Among those who have bases in Cyprus are 3CX and Wargaming, the video games company behind World of Tanks, eToro, AMDOCS and Point Nine.

George Campanellas, Director General of Invest Cyprus, the national body responsible for attracting and facilitating foreign investment into the country – and organisers of the conference – said that the number of technology companies choosing to locate their headquarters in Cyprus was increasing.

“There are characteristics that make Cyprus quite attractive: positive economic outlook, access to skilled talent, an ideal geographical position allowing companies to service Asia, Africa and the Middle East markets, our regulatory and tax structure and our close alignment with English law. We are the number one shipping management centre in the EU, and we can replicate the success of that in other sectors.”

Among the speakers at the conference hosted by Invest Cyprus at Level 39 in Canary Wharf was Victor Kislyi, founder of Wargaming Group. He said:

“All I knew about Cyprus before I set up my business there was it had sun and beaches and great food, but I had a friend who said ‘come to Cyprus’ and so we went with a suitcase and we were immediately in good hands.”

Listing the benefits of establishing Wargaming’s global HQ in Cyprus, Victor Kislyi highlighted Cyprus’s genuine interest in supporting and facilitating foreign investors.

“The great thing is that because of the transport links you can go anywhere from Cyprus,” he added, “No-one knows how hard Brexit will be, but for British tech companies that want to retain logistics and operations in the EU, Cyprus is a very suitable location.”

About Invest Cyprus

The Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (Invest Cyprus) is the national investment promotion agency of Cyprus with a mandate to enhance the nation’s investment appeal abroad. Further information can be found at