‘The country has quite a unique market and a colossal pace of development' - the founder of several IT companies Alexander Baklanov’s thought on Uzbekistan

IT Park continues to tell the stories of IT professionals who came to work in Uzbekistan. Today we decided to cover the story of Alexander Baklanov from Nizhny Novgorod.

Alexander is the owner and founder of IT Solutions, RUS2 LLC in Russia and R2 Technology Company in Russia, and Technology-R2 LLC and Meta-R2 in Tashkent. In addition, on August 20, Alexander and his team plan to launch a design project across the country, which will be handled by Meta-R2.

IT Solutions is a company that is mainly engaged in large projects, software development in a certain market - that is, it works with a certain segment of people.

RUS2 is a public brand, a strong product company that has boxed products. For example, free website development, monthly support, federal projects where any entrepreneur and any person can place an order.

Thanks to its strong expertise, RUS2 is one of the competence centers for digitalizing the healthcare system in the Nizhny Novgorod region and creating its positive image. To date, those projects developed by RUS2 have been implemented in 100% of healthcare institutions in the Nizhny Novgorod region. Software systems, websites, bots - every institution has some of the products. Now Alexander's team aims to ensure that by the end of August 2022, 100% of institutions use 100% of the products.

Alexander is an adviser to the Minister of Health of the Nizhny Novgorod Region, and RUS2 implements the tasks of other structures of the Government of the Nizhny Novgorod Region, for example, Gorky Center for Artificial Intelligence.

R2 is a company that deals with out-of-the-box products, exclusive solutions, but in the SMB segment.

About moving to Uzbekistan

As Alexander recalls, the idea to move to Uzbekistan came to him spontaneously.

“When Russia faced some difficulties with banking services due to the imposed sanctions, and we had economic relations not only within the country, but also with the external market, we realized that the interbank market would suffer significantly. At first, we thought to come here just to open a bank account. But then I saw the news on the Telegram channel of the governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region that he had come to Uzbekistan for an exhibition. I contacted one of the members of the delegation, asked how it was, and he replied: come and you will see.”

Alexander arrived in Tashkent in May with a small delegation. They visited the office of IT Park Uzbekistan, where they were told about tax benefits and preferences.

“We decided to try opening a company here. Using the IT Park support program, we submitted documents for registering a company and obtaining the status of an IT Park resident. By the way, both the first and second were done promptly, everything was resolved quickly and successfully.”

After that, they began to study the Uzbek market, assessed its prospects and the response of entrepreneurs.

“The market surprised us so much that the next day after receiving the statistics, I decided: we are opening an office here. On the same day we found a facility and bought furniture. Three days later, the office has already started full-fledged work. To date, more than 60 contracts have been concluded and about 60-70 are being negotiated.”

As Alexander admits, there were no problems with red tape, everything worked clearly, specialists worked actively at all stages, neither there was an issue with communication.

“IT Park also helped us find a company for outsourcing company for accounting. We see that here everyone is ready to provide support and help, which is good.”

IT sector of Uzbekistan

According to Alexander, the IT sector in Uzbekistan is still developing.

“The government of Uzbekistan is doing everything possible for development, entrepreneurs see that there are changes and understand that there is demand, the pace is colossal, but the country still has a lot to do.”

As he admits, at first he was skeptical about the huge number of buildings, he wondered for whom such buildings were set up here, but now he understands that they will be successfully occupied.

“There are absolutely all the conditions and opportunities here: buildings, offices, beneficial taxes for the founders and a profitable system for making a profit. The most important thing is that there are people who want to work and can learn easily. I also noticed that people are eager to learn new languages. This is quite a strong indicator. An expensive air travel is the only drawback that does not allow Uzbekistan to develop more actively and spoils the overall impression. The more free and cheap is the journey, the more deals can be made. Resolving this issue will easily turn Uzbekistan into an IT hub.”

Impression about Uzbekistan

Alexander feels comfortable in Uzbekistan, he really likes it here. In Tashkent, he managed to see almost everything. He tells that the city is green and clean.

“I live in the city center, the roads are good there. The driving culture is peculiar for sure, I also noticed that they honk a lot here, I can’t get used to it for a long time now. But I like the taxi drivers themselves, they are silent. There were no problems with cashing out and exchanging money, everything works well.”

Oriental bazaars made an indelible impression on Alexander, which he expressed in one word: brave and stunning. He likes national fabrics, souvenirs, dishes with beautiful ornaments.

Alexander also liked Uzbek cuisine.

“I know that for Uzbeks this is a matter of pride. Yes, the food is really very tasty, I tried everything. I think that soon I will start to cook local dishes myself.”

In addition to Tashkent, he visited Bukhara, Navoi and Samarkand. He liked all the cities, especially Samarkand. Comparing the city with the capital, he notes that these are two different worlds, different mentalities.

“The life in the capital city is different. It seemed to me that there are more traditional views in Samarkand. And you get the meal in huge portions. I ordered a kebap according to Tashkent standards, and they brought me according to Samarkand standards that was 4 times more. ”

According to Alexander, Uzbekistan is the future Emirates, although much remains to be done here.

“Personally, I evaluate any state according to two indicators: 1 - the amount of real estate under construction. This means that there is demand, because no one will invest millions in something that will never sell. In Tashkent, construction sites are everywhere, which means that the economy is developing, people will come here and spend money on the country’s economy.”

The second indicator that the guest highlights is the cost of a taxi, if the price is low, he thinks, this is a bad indicator.

“The cost of a taxi can be low only when there are so many offers that there is no such demand. This is bad, because the able-bodied population of the country chooses to turn the steering wheel instead of learning and developing. If we talk about other countries, then there it is a service, a service, an indicator of quality. But the driver is another matter."

But this, according to Alexander, is fixable. He is confident that if the government continues to support and invest in all sectors, then Uzbekistan will have the most beautiful and successful future.

I believe that Uzbekistan is taking the right steps. I like that the government decided to remove taxes and contributed to the fact that IT companies will come here. And this means that local residents will be employed, moreover, in high-paying jobs, and spending money on the territory of their own country, which will boost the economy.”

Impression about local people

According to Alexander, locals are calm, hospitable, neat, not impudent, respectful of others and have good manners.

“I never cease to admire the hospitality of the locals. I remember once talking on the street with an elderly couple, they were just passers-by. And almost a minute after we met, they already began to invite me for dinner to eat pilaf.”

Alexander notes that Uzbeks are hard-working and polite people.

“People are easygoing. I noticed this in the process of work: when we called the companies and asked if it was possible to send a commercial offer. They answered: “yes, of course, send”. The percentage of acceptance of commercial offers in Uzbekistan is 98%. For comparison, in Russia it is 3%. This is the difference in attitude towards people and mentality.”

He managed to recommend Uzbekistan to his colleagues, partners and acquaintances, and they also liked it here.

“Several of my friends came to visit and liked the country. I am also glad that everyone in Uzbekistan speaks Russian or at least understands it, so I really enjoy being here.”