ECONOMY

Foreign IT firms expand

Local information technology companies may be suffering from serious problems but foreign groups continue to strengthen their presence in Greece, with some of them working to establish software or research centers. Strong global players such as First Data and Euronet in the field of electronic payments and Sweden’s Ericsson in telecommunications solutions are either creating new centers and small software development cells or expanding the small sections they already had here. Ericsson This week Ericsson announced the opening of a new center for research and development of new services. The Service Creation Lab «is a company initiative with worldwide significance, being the answer to the need of service providers to supply financial services to users,» Ericsson stated. It added that «the lab will be used for the showcase, concentration and transmission of knowledge acquired during the recent focusing of the company’s interest in service providing and the acquisition of global experience between the company and Greek universities.» First Data First Data has invested about 200 million euros to purchase the IT services section of Delta Singular and another 10 million euros to establish a software development center which serves the markets of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. More than 60 programmers from Brazil and other nations work at the software center and develop parts of the Paysys software system for the management of credit cards and the applications which support the operation of their biggest client, National Bank of Greece. Euronet Euronet, for its part, is rivaling First Data by investing 18 million euros to purchase the card processing sector of ABC, a Piraeus Bank subsidiary. The programmers of this sector will also be used for the Euronet applications on the sectors of credit and debit card management and ATMs. These two companies are making the most of the know-how developed in Greece due to the peculiarities in the operation of the credit card market (installments etc). These are models which the firms may wish to export to the neighboring Southeastern European markets. Siemens Finally, Germany’s Siemens has for years had a software center in Greece, which has actually received several rewards from the parent company. It would appear then that multinational companies have thrived where domestic software companies have failed, that is in utilizing the «talent» they suggest exists in this country.