Turkey Is Now in the Global Top 25

Business model Illustration: Jelena Galkina

In our annual report showing the share of global demand for information technology products and services represented by each of the 226 nations in the world, Turkey has for the first time ever made it to the top 25 list. Turkey is now in position 22 representing close to 1% of total global demand. For B2B information technology companies looking to expand into new foreign markets Turkey is certainly worth some serious consideration.

Istanbul is always the starting point

Istanbul is always the starting point

Unless your target market is government contracts Istanbul will always be your first stop. A dominant share of the Turkish market is actually located in and around Istanbul and an even larger share of all strategic decisions are made by businesses headquartered in this area.

Istanbul is a cosmopolitan city that despite its huge size is easy to navigate. I have done business in Istanbul since 2012 and now hold an istanbulcart that gives me access to public transportation and takes me around the city within predictable time frames. There is free Wi-Fi in each and every small café and in all hotels. People in the hospitality industry and in major retail outlets will speak English.

The market is growing

Despite the unrest in the aftermath of the unsuccessful military coup attempt in June this year the Turkish market continues to grow and foreign investments are more than welcome.

Doğan Ufuk Güneş, chairman of the Turkish Software Industry Association (YASAD).
We have a booming information technology industry in Turkey, and we welcome foreign companies that want to invest in Turkey, says Doğan Ufuk Güneş, chairman of the Turkish Software Industry Association (YASAD). We can provide a huge market, skilled labour and professional business partners that are readily available to cooperate helping the Turkish nation become more productive and rich. Our government has ambitious plans for the country and the information technology industry plays a vital role in these growth plans. And then we shouldn’t forget that Turkey is an excellent gateway to the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

Highly skilled resources are available

Turkey offers a good supply of professional English speaking business developers and IT professionals that can help bootstrap your business, find the first customers, recruit the first distributors and resellers and pave the way for setting up your own subsidiary or joint venture. These business developers have been trained by Siemens, SAP, IBM, HP, Oracle, Microsoft and all the other big multinational companies and are fully proficient in contemporary marketing and sales principles. Some of them are available on agent or free-lance basis where you will receive a monthly invoice for their services so that you initially don’t have to worry about Turkish labour market legislation and salary administration. The only thing you need to clarify is the withholding tax that you may be liable to pay on the business you do in Turkey when you invoice your clients from abroad.

Engage a local mahout

I can highly recommend engaging a Turkish business developer from day one while you assess and test the market. Turkish culture makes it almost impossible to do business by flying in and out on a monthly basis and trying to keep up momentum with long distance phone calls. Turkey is very much about “who you know” in addition to “what you know.” While Turkish business people are very friendly and accommodating you need a local business developer to help you set up the right meetings, help you prepare for and help you interpret the outcome of those meetings, including deciding the follow up procedures.

When it comes to pricing and negotiations Turkey is very different from the Anglo-Saxon cultures and you are best served by having someone who deeply understands you and the Turkish ways of doing business at your side. The business developers groomed by the big multinational corporations are perfect for playing this role of translating the culture and moving the needle forward.

Fikret Idil, business developer for TBK Consult in Istanbul
“Having worked for Nortel, IBM and HP since 1987 I have learned to bridge these cultural differences,” says Fikret Idil, business developer for TBK Consult in Istanbul. “As business people we all have the same objectives of making sound decisions for our companies. The way we get there is just very different depending on our cultural backgrounds. I understand both worlds and can help move things forward keeping everyone happy during the journey.”

Invest in Turkey

Turkey is no different from any other country in the world in their demand for something in return for the business foreign companies want to do in their markets. The last thing the Turkish government wants — and the Turkish industry is fully behind this requirement — is companies fishing for customers from the outside. Invest in Turkey, create jobs and cooperate with the local industries. There is full understanding that smaller companies may need to bootstrap their business through distributors and resellers first, but without the clear intention of creating a base in Turkey the support and enthusiasm will soon fade and it will be very hard to catch the attention of the Turkish business community.

“We are very open to foreign investments and we also welcome foreign competitors to Turkey”, says Doğan Ufuk Güneş, “but we want to co-create value for the Turkish community. Companies with that mind set will find a Turkey with open arms and virtually unlimited opportunities.”

Now may be the right time for investing in Turkey.

About the BECH Index

The BECH Index is calculated based on data from The World Factbook, a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency (USA) with almanac-style information about the countries of the world. The objective of the BECH Index is to illustrate the development in the relative demand for information technology products and services represented by each country in the world.

For more information, please contact:

Hans Peter Bech
 hpb@tbkconsult.com
 +45 2347 6762


Originally published at tbkconsult.com on October 12, 2016.