GYUMRI — Highlighting the rapid growth of Armenia’s information technology (IT) sector, D-Link Corporation, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of computer networking equipment, inaugurated its newly constructed research and development center in Gyumri on Monday.

The center is one of the three facilities of its kind operated by the Taiwanese IT group around the world. Its creation was made possible by an agreement which D-Link signed with the Armenian government in January 2013. The government provided the company with a plot of land in Gyumri for that purpose.

D-Link had opened software development branches in both Gyumri and Yerevan even before that agreement. It reportedly employed some 200 people in Armenia as of last year.

With annual worldwide sales exceeding $1 billion, D-Link is principally engaged in the research, development, manufacture and distribution of computer network systems, devices, wireless communication products and components.

“This center will play a significant role in the development of Gyumri and Armenia’s strong scientific potential as well as the country’s integration into global information technology processes,” Economy Minister Karen Chshmaritian said at the inauguration ceremony that was also attended by President Serzh Sarkisian.

Chshmaritian added the Armenian government has a strong interest in having “multinational corporations” expand their presence in the domestic IT industry, the fastest-growing sector of Armenia’s economy.

The export-oriented sector had expanded by an average of 22 percent annually since 2008. The government expects this growth to continue unabated in the years to come. Some officials have forecast that the sector’s annual turnover will pass the $1 billion mark by 2019.

According to government estimates, the combined output of the nearly 400 IT firms operating in the country reached almost $475 million last year. The figure is equivalent to about 5 percent of its Gross Domestic Product.

Much of this growth has been driven by U.S. hi-tech giants like as Synopsys, National Instruments, Mentor Graphics and VMware. Synopsys, a global microchip design leader, employs about 700 engineers in Armenia, making its local branch the country’s largest IT enterprise.

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