Argentina is creating new tax incentives to bolster a domestic software industry that is expected to generate sales of 3.75 billion dollars this year, including 900 million in exports. The incentives take effect this week and are to remain in place through the end of 2019.
“The software sector is a leader in creativity and dynamism, with more than 4,000 companies, of which 98% are micro, small medium-sized firms,” Industry Minister Debora Giorgi said.
More than 320 software companies are already part of a government promotion scheme established in 2008 and the new incentives are expected to attract another 500 firms, officials said.
The new package will give software-exporting businesses a tax break equal to 70% of the employer’s share of payments to fund Argentina’s public benefits system.
The Argentine software industry has seen its sales increase by 313% over the last nine years, while exports have been growing at an average of 20% annually.
The United States, Brazil, Chile and Mexico were the biggest purchasers of Argentine software in 2012. All but 2% of Argentina’s software companies are locally owned and the sector employs nearly 70,000 people.
Argentina’s Strategic Industrial Plan calls for the software industry to reach 7.3 billion in annual sales by 2020 and for employment in the sector to expand to 134,000.
In related news police in Argentina have arrested a 19-year-old man who is being accused of heading a gang of hackers who targeted international money transfer and gambling websites.
The super-hacker was arrested on suspicion of making 50.000 dollars a month, working from his bedroom in Buenos Aires, while running an elaborate cyber-fraud network.
Police say it took them a year to close in on the teenager, who may have set up a technological cave in his home. The young man lived with his father, an IT engineer, in Buenos Aires. In his bedroom, officials found high-capacity computers and sophisticated computing and IT equipment.
The police with a specialized unit for this sort of crime forced a black-out in the hacker’s square before raiding the house.
The hackers allegedly used mal-ware attacks to build up a network of thousands of zombie computers, which were then used to illegally divert money from accounts leaving virtually no trace behind. Named Operation Zombie, this manhunt began in 2012 when a businessman providing website hosting services said he had discovered a hacker was remotely accessing his servers to intercept money transfers.
A Security Ministry statement said: “Internet users were victims of a ‘mal-ware’ virus that the hacker hosted in a server for downloading online gaming applications.”
The police operation included five raids in the capital and the city of Rosario. Officials have identified six other people allegedly involved in the network. The teenager is being accused of three crimes, and could be sentenced to more than 10 years in prison.