Nepal: The next global tech hub

Nepal is home to many world-class IT professionals and a growing number of talented young developers and engineers. Top IT professionals say Nepal has great potential to become the next global hub of technology outsourcing and innovation within the next decade. 

“More and more investors are moving out of the US to replicate the philosophy of Silicon Valley in Nepal, India, Indonesia, Singapore, and other parts of the world,” says Prashish Rajbhandari, CTO of Innovate tech, an innovation and entrepreneurship platform based in Nepal.  

Although the trend has been for many IT resources to exit Nepal in search of opportunity, many top professionals like Prashish are returning to Nepal after gaining experience in the US and other tech hubs to build the potential they see in Nepal’s IT industry. One of his key learnings in Silicon Valley is to enable a culture that fosters innovation and start up growth through bold investment and freedom to experiment.  

“The people that I met in hackathons at Silicon Valley are not different from the people in Nepal, it’s the philosophy and mindset that sets them apart,” he said. 

The high cost of living, heavy traffic congestion, and other factors in California have seen the exodus of investors from Silicon Valley. On the other hand, decentralization and blockchain technology have made it highly favorable to offshore innovation. India for instance, has seen rapid growth in its tech ecosystem through the success of Polygon, a crypto company in the blockchain space currently valued at more than $10 Billion. The single breakthrough case of Polygon encouraged exponential financing and formation of tech startups throughout India.   

“If a $10 Billion company can start up from India and create a booming tech ecosystem, then why can’t we do the same in Nepal. I am strongly inclined towards the same happening in Nepal in the near future,” he adds.   

US investors establishing outsourcing firms is becoming more and more common in Nepal. Seva development is an exemplary 100% FDI company that provides software outsourcing services from Nepal to US businesses. 

“Nepal is in this really good position to become a global leader in outsourcing,” says Jeff Handy, CTO of Seva development. 

India, Indonesia, Singapore, and other outsourcing nations are becoming difficult to work with due to increasing prices and low employee lifecycles. Nepal does not have these issues and has great market potential due to its education in the English language. Jeff adds that it is only a matter of sourcing enough people for Nepal to become a global tech hub for outsourcing. 

Karvika Thapa, founder and CEO of Kimbu tech also started software offshoring services from Nepal by networking with clients in the US and Israel. She also returned to Nepal after gaining years of work experience abroad to build up Nepal’s potential.  

Her efforts have established confidence in the Nepalese tech industry in untapped foreign markets like Israel, which has also earned the moniker Silicon Wadi for its innovative tech ecosystem. Nepalese developers are slowly gaining recognition for their talent in the competitive global marketplace. They are attracting investors to Nepal through the rapport built by outsourcing quality services to foreign businesses. The potential and exposure of Nepal as a global tech hub is growing day by day on the world stage.   

“Students should know that everything is integrating with technology and consider taking the tech train. Don’t miss out on the train as it is on track to bring a boom in the IT sector of Nepal within the next 5 years,” she said. 

In recent years, Nepal has seen the rise of many tech startups from ride-sharing apps to growth in e-commerce websites and online sales. The government of Nepal also introduced the Digital Framework Nepal 2019 that provides a blueprint for enabling Nepal’s digital transformation across eight sectors -including digital foundation, agriculture, health, education, energy, tourism, finance, and urban infrastructure – through 80 digital initiatives. The covid pandemic has also accelerated the growth of Nepal’s tech ecosystem. Digital transactions increased at an astounding rate from NPR 712 billion in 2018 to NPR 1,559 billion in 2019, more than doubling in the span of one year.  

Karvika adds that the covid pandemic saw the influx of many Australian clients outsourcing their software demands to Nepal. She is hopeful that American companies will bring the next wave of investment to Nepal.  

As Nepal’s top IT professionals envision Nepal as a global hub of outsourcing and innovation, they are seeking better government policy and collaborations from the education sector to fast-track growth. Keep your eyes on the Nepalese tech industry as it has promising potential in outsourcing and offshoring technology in the near future. 

You can check out the Techkraft podcast YouTube channel here for more in-depth insights and updates from industry experts on the tech scene of Nepal.