Ministry reveals support for technology exports
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
The government, which has initiated a program to equip schools with smart boards and tablets, now announced incentives to increase information technology exports. AA photoEconomy Minister Zafer Çağlayan yesterday revealed financial supports for industries that have the capacity to bring in foreign exchange, including in the information technology, health tourism, film and education sectors. The move is the government’s latest bid to decrease the large current account deficit, widely seen as the soft belly of the Turkish economy.
Çağlayan said the total budget of the support for these industries was 125 million Turkish Liras this year. “We aim to increase the budget in upcoming years. If we yield positive results by the end of this year, we will try to allocate more resources to the budget in the general budget for 2013,” he said during a press conference to discuss the decree on “Supporting Service Trade that brings in Foreign Currency.”
He said the government aimed to increase the $250 million exports of the information technology sector to $1 billion by 2013, and then to $10 billion by 2023.
To meet the targets for this industry the ministry will support new computer games with up to $100,000 when entering the market, he said. Turkey can thus get at least a $1 billion share from the annual global gaming market of $50 billion, according to him.
The ministry will cover the annual rent costs of information technology centers and will cover 80 percent of the salaries of the staff employed at centers that the techno-cities will open abroad in silicon valleys. However the total supports in this field will amount to $600,000 a year.
The ministry will also support the production and sale of mobile computer and smart phone applications in Turkey to take a share in the fast growing global market, which stood at $7.3 billion last year. The ministry will pay 50 percent of commission costs with a maximum budget of $50,000. The information technology industry will receive support of 50 percent in advertisements, marketing, advisory and organizational costs, with a total financial support of up to $300,000 a year from the ministry.
The ministry will also support information technology firms in their advertisements via Internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Baidu and Yandex. Other areas of support in this industry are attendance at international fairs and consultancy services that the firms need.
The ministry will also implement similar incentives for the local education sector to woo more students to the Turkish education system from abroad. The country sends 100,000 students abroad, while receiving only 25,000 every year, Çağlayan said, adding that the target was to increase the figure to 100,000 by 2023 and register $2 billion worth of foreign exchange.
Turkey hosted about 130,000 medical tourists last year, yielding $1.5 billion in foreign exchange revenue, he said. Turkey aims to achieve a higher share in the global medical tourism sector, which is expected to reach a size of $100 billion and 5 million medical tourists this year.
“The cost of a bypass operation is $145,000 in the U.S., $30,000 in Mexico and $23,000 in Thailand, whereas the cost of the same treatment in Turkey is just $12,000,” Çağlayan said.
The annual revenue targets for medical tourism is $20 billion in 2023.Noting that the film industry was one of the industries with the highest profitability, Çağlayan said the ministry aimed to increase film exports to $1 billion by 2023, focusing primarily on the Russian, Chinese and Latin American markets.
“Film exports are very important in terms of publicity and creating a positive image of our country,” he said.