Startup Central Eurasia News Digest

12 January, 2022

We gathered the main news of Central Eurasia, affecting the region’s startup ecosystem. 4-12 January

1. In Kazakhstan, the Internet has been disrupted by increased energy protests

January 4, 2022. Netblocks. Network data from NetBlocks confirms a significant Internet service failure in Kazakhstan since Tuesday evening, January 4. The disruptions are taking place against the backdrop of growing protests against the sudden increase in energy prices that began over the weekend in Zhanaozen, in the west of the country.

2. Integration in the Eurasian Union stimulates online trade. Opinion of an «Eurasia.Expert» reviewer

January 4, 2022. Eurasia.Expert. From 1 January 2022 in Kazakhstan and from 1 July in Belarus the obligation to pay VAT for Russian Internet sites is introduced. At the same time, companies will continue to pay VAT in Russia, which will lead to double taxation for Russian marketplaces. What is the significance of «e-commerce» for EEC countries today, and whether Russian retailers will be able to avoid losses due to insufficient attention of authorities to the sphere of online trade, have analyzed in «Eurasia.Expert».

The Association of Internet Trading Companies (ACIT) has calculated the amount of tax burden that entrepreneurs will have to assume in addition. Thus, in Belarus it will exceed 3.8 billion rubles ($51 million) and in Kazakhstan it will exceed 3.6 billion rubles. ($48 million). At the same time on transboundary sites - «Aliexpress», «Ebay» and others - these rules do not apply. They will continue to work without taxes on shipments worth up to €200. Of course, the new regulation will create unequal conditions for doing business and will prevent the full development of Russian online exports.

3. Visual collaboration company Miro valued at $17.5B following $400M in new funding

January 5, 2022. TechCrunch. The company announced its largest round to date, $400 million in a Series C that propels its valuation to $17.5 billion. The new capital infusion gives Miro $476 million in total funding since the company was founded in 2011 by Andrey Khusid and Oleg Shardin. Prior to the raise, Miro was already profitable and growing three times year over year before the global pandemic. However, with statistics showing that 53% of the U.S. workforce is expected to be remote by the end of this year, and with what Khusid expected to happen in 2022 actually happening in 2020, it created awareness around the problem of connectivity and collaboration in this new way of work.

4. IT Park Uzbekistan and Coursera open a special course set to prepare for university entrance

January 7, 2022. IT Park Uz. IT Park opened a set for the preparatory special course «Course in Information Technology» (Foundation) on the Coursera platform, which starts already in February of the current year. The curriculum includes the best courses in programming, mathematics, academic English and project management from leading international companies and universities such as Google, Intel, IBM, Yale University and Johns Hopkins University. Upon completion of the course, students will be awarded certificates from IT Park and Coursera.

5. The Sberbank mobile app in Kazakhstan continued working without internet-connection

January 9, 2022. Rusbase. Sberbank mobile application services in Kazakhstan operate without Internet access. Sberbank noted that the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of Kazakhstan, as well as the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan, contributed to this development.  Sberbank also abolished fines and penalties on loans to legal and natural persons in Kazakhstan until the end of January 2022.

Since January 5, protests related to the double rise in gas prices, which escalated into riots, in Kazakhstan the Internet has been turned off, as a result of which cashless payments stopped working, and residents withdrew money massively in ATMs. Residents complained that they could not buy food and delivery services were stopped.

6. In Kyrgyzstan electronic tax reporting is required from individual entrepreneurs 

11 January 2022. Individual entrepreneurs are moving towards mandatory electronic tax reporting. The IRS Press Office reported it. The requirement to submit tax accounts through the «personal cabinet» on the site of the Tax takes effect from January 2022. In this context, the Agency encourages individual entrepreneurs to have access to the «private cabinet» for the submission of reports.44

7. «E-Government Development Centre» of Azerbaijan joined the UN-event on e-participation

12 January, 2022. EGDC. On January 10-11, the UN held a workshop on global e-participation. The main purpose of the workshop is to build institutional and leadership capacity to strengthen the e-participation policy. Fariz Jafarov, Director of the E-GOV Development Center of the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, spoke at the event, which representatives from fifteen countries attended. He gave detailed information about the work done in Azerbaijan to ensure e-participation, as well as the projects "ASAN Login", "myGov", "ASAN appeal", "Digital Executive Power", "ASAN Visa".