Switzerland exports more IT services than cheese & chocolate

Could this be the beginning of a technological gold rush?

Switzerland is known for watches, cheese, and some of the world's best chocolate. The country also remains infamous for its strict banking secrecy laws. 

So it might come as a surprise to some that this Central European nation is making a name for itself in the domain of Information Technology (IT). 

The popularity of these services can be attributed to digital transformation initiatives, and concerns surrounding privacy and security.

Switzerland exports almost eight times more IT services than cheese & chocolate

According to a recent study conducted by us at Artmotion, Switzerland exported 7.9 times more IT services than both cheese and chocolate (combined) in 2018. This number has risen three times over the last five years.

This discovery was made while trawling through oceans of export data made publicly available by Swiss Impex and the Federal Department of Finance.

The revenue generated is equal to $12.2 billion (or CHF12.1 billion) in IT services and $1.5 billion (or CHF1.5 billion) in cheese and chocolate exports. 

Today, Switzerland has grown to become the 18th largest export economy in the world. The IT sector is the nation's seventh-largest industry, and it’s propelled by IT categories like the blockchain, cloud services, and IT consulting. 

In recent years, the sector has also seen some significant growth in segments such as cybersecurity and cryptography.

The rise of cybersecurity solutions 

Switzerland’s long history of neutrality and political stability makes it a highly attractive destination for data storage. To keep the planet’s data secure, the local cybersecurity industry has also experienced a period of significant acceleration. 

According to another study, Switzerland also ranked as the safest country to store your data. According to Artmotion’s founder and CEO, Mateo Meier, “Switzerland has grown to become much more than a financial center. Today Switzerland is seen as a thriving hub for data storage. Over the years, we, at Artmotion, have witnessed a growing number of clients who wish to host their cloud data in Switzerland. Most of them require a trusted third-party to secure data using different cybersecurity tools and technologies. This is where Switzerland’s good reputation and robust legal framework has a positive impact on the industry as a whole.”

The emergence of Crypto Valley

The crypto scene has also grown exponentially in Switzerland, especially in affluent towns like Zug (also known as Crypto Valley). This is evidenced by the presence of six “unicorn” startups that are valued at over a billion dollars each. 

These include Bitmain, Cardano Foundation, Cosmos Network, Dfinity, Ethereum, and Polkadot. The town is also home organizations like Blockchain Valley Ventures, a Swiss-based blockchain accelerator, and venture capital firm. There were also 383 blockchain-related companies based in the area (or 51% of all companies based in Crypto Valley).

According to Cédric Schmid, a leading politician, and entrepreneur, “Crypto Valley is at the forefront of Switzerland's digital opportunity. Its emergence can be attributed to our long history of political stability, strict privacy laws, and business-friendly regulatory framework.” 

Switzerland’s status in the technology vertical was also cemented when Facebook registered its FinTech services offering, Libra, in the city of Geneva. The social media giant’s new venture promises to further develop blockchain technologies, data analytics protocols, investment platforms, and payment technologies. 

"Switzerland is becoming a global leader in financial technology innovation. Crypto Valley has a strong ecosystem of blockchain companies, with over 800 blockchain startups active in the country. These companies employ more than 4,000 people in Switzerland. We have six unicorns in the space, and the market value of the TOP 50 companies exceeds $41 billion. The reason why Switzerland has developed such a vibrant ecosystem is simple. It’s our proactive, favorable regulatory approach, combined with high-level of service providers, and a strong international finance system that supports a unique pool of international talent,” said Ruslan Mahhov, Head of Advisory at Crypto Valley Venture Capital (CV VC), a leading blockchain-focused venture capital investment company.

All this suggests that Switzerland is rapidly growing into a technology powerhouse that can compete with the best in the global marketplace. It also reaffirms the fact that technology will be a leading commodity for years to come, possibly leading to the next “gold rush.”

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