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Japanese IT giant NTT Data eyes smart city development in Serbia

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Japanese IT firm NTT Data expressed interest in developing smart cities driven by technological innovations as part of the plan for the international expo EXPO 2027 in Belgrade, according to Ambassador of Japan Akira Imamura. This initiative aims to promote sustainable development and enhance citizens’ quality of life. NTT Data, a multinational corporation offering a range of IT services and consulting, including cloud infrastructure, cybersecurity, and Salesforce and SAP services, is spearheading this endeavor.

During a meeting with Prime Minister Miloš Vučević and NTT Data representatives, discussions revolved around new investments and opportunities to bolster cooperation between Japan and Serbia, as per the Serbian Government’s announcement. Although specifics from the company representatives were not disclosed in the official statement, Vučević underscored the potential for collaboration with NTT Data, particularly in cybersecurity, digital platform development, and smart city initiatives. He emphasized Serbia’s favorable business environment for IT investments and its leadership in innovative technologies like artificial intelligence—areas pivotal to NTT Data’s operations.

With approximately 190,000 employees and operations in over 50 countries, NTT Data invests $3.6 billion annually in research and development. Notably, the company has previously implemented smart city solutions in Los Angeles, resulting in significant cost savings and enhanced safety measures.

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In a recent development, NTT Data acquired a majority stake in GHL Systems, a Malaysian payment services provider, signaling its commitment to expanding its global footprint.

NTT Data operates under the Japanese telecommunications conglomerate Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT), which boasts over 330,000 employees and a market presence across more than 900 affiliated companies. While NTT holds nearly 58% of NTT Data’s shares, other shareholders collectively own less than five percent. Despite this, Nomura Holdings, the second-largest shareholder, downgraded its recommendation for NTT Data shares from “buy” to “neutral” last month.

The Serbian state-economic delegation’s visit to Japan—the first since 1987—underscores efforts to strengthen bilateral economic ties. Minister of Internal and Foreign Trade Tomislav Momirović highlighted Serbia’s ambition to surpass €1 billion in annual trade with Japan by attracting new investments.

With Serbia’s IT sector witnessing consistent growth, Prime Minister Vučević hailed it as one of the country’s most promising economic sectors. In 2023, ICT exports totaled €3.45 billion, reflecting a positive trajectory that underscores the sector’s potential for continued expansion.

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