Information technology is one of the most dynamic and most rapidly developing industries in Latvia. Developing a Western-style information society was a vital part of Latvia's strategy prior to joining the EU. The computer hardware sector covers approximately 50 percent of the Latvian IT market.
Sales were accelerated by implementation of the Latvian Education Information System (LIIS). This program ensured that every school had specialized computer classes with access to the Internet, and provided one computer per 10 students in grades 10-12, one computer per 25 students in grades 5-9, and one computer per 10 teachers (for all grades). Now this program has been replaced by an expanded Information and Communication Technologies for Education Quality Program for the years 2007-2013.
The best prospects for U.S. computer hardware exports to Latvia are for new personal computers with the latest versions of processors, small and medium multi-processor servers, multimedia equipment, LAN accessories and relevant computer parts, and internet protocol related equipment. Second-hand and overstock personal computers represent a new and growing market niche. The principal consumers of these products in Latvia are private individuals who obtain computers for home use.
Principal opportunities are for retail home use. There are also good opportunities for companies that want to use Latvia as a logistical center for distribution in Northern Europe and nearby Russia. Considering the relatively low cost of production and well educated workforce, computer companies could also consider placing production lines in Latvia. The success of enterprises such as ELKO grupa (the largest IT wholesale company), Hanza Elektronika, and Mikrotik show the viability of such plans.
Computer Services (CSV)
One of Latvia's priorities since regaining independence has been to update its outdated data communications sectors, and large investments have been made both in telecommunication and high-speed data transmission networks. The software development sector has significantly increased its role in Latvia's economy (including exports) during recent years. The Latvian Information and Communications Technology sector consists of about 2000 ICT companies.
The Latvian government has adopted the "e-Latvia" program, which strives to modernize overall communication with public and streamline documentation procedures. The most important element of the program is the coordination and modernization of critical national information systems: the Population Register, Enterprise Register, Taxpayers Register, Cadastral Register, and the information system of the Road Traffic Safety Directorate. In addition, there are approximately 30 smaller branch information systems that address specific sectors, ministries or regions. The government eventually plans to integrate these systems into one united network. The government and other institutions recognize that system and network security issues are top priorities for further implementation of the e-Latvia concept. The majority of Latvian companies, government institutions and financial institutions have commenced the redevelopment of their IT systems, including back office systems, LANs, accounting and financial control systems. Many large to medium size enterprises are upgrading their IT systems to take advantage of opportunities presented by e-business.
Both Internet and electronic commerce are rapidly penetrating the Latvian market and increasing the need for IT related services and support. U.S. exports have very good prospects in the IT&T services sector, especially: internet/intranet systems and networks implementation, education and training, and support services. At the beginning of 2007 there were approximately 1.25 million internet users in Latvia.
Very good prospects exist in the sector of data centers. Good prospects can also be found in almost any computer services sphere if market size and sector maturity are taken into account.
The growing popularity of the Internet in Latvia has highlighted the necessity for computer and network security. This sector will only grow, especially taking into account the popularity of online banking in the country. Opportunities can also be found in: software development and re-design, enterprise resource planning services, implementation of Internet B2B software, development of payment card systems,adaptation of foreign software, development of electronic communications, development of call centers.
Internet Users Rank
Internet Users Date of Information
Telephones - mobile cellular
Cell Phone Rank
Cell Phone Date of Information
Telephones - main lines in use
Telephones Date of Information
GDP - real growth rate(%)
Growth Date of Information
GDP - per capita
GDP/pc Date of Information
GDP Date of Information
Pop Date of Information
July 2003 est.
A lovely beach near Riga, Latvia where I checked out the European Beach