YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s burgeoning software industry got a major boost Wednesday with the official opening of yet another subsidiary of an American high-tech company.
Senior executives from Epygi Labs of the United States inaugurated their new branch in the Armenian city of Ashtarak in the presence of President Robert Kocharian. The company plans to invest $20 million in the subsidiary within the next five years to produce computer software–laser and fibro-optic equipment and semi-conductors.
Its production operations will initially focus on computer programming. Epygi Labs chief executive Sam Simonian–an American citizen of Armenian descent–said the Ashtarak branch will employ 120 programmers by the end of this year will expand its staff by 50 percent annually.
As part of its strategy of promoting development of information technologies in Armenia–the company will also open an Internet "technopark" in Yerevan–which will be equipped with 1000 personal computers available for public use free of charge.
At least 12 American and several European software firms already operate in Armenia–drawing on the country’s skilled but cheap workforce.