The high-tech sector in Central Europe is relatively insignificant compared to the countries in the world and the European Union. Only four of the hundreds of start-ups that were valued at a billion dollars at the end of September 2021 were based in the region. Only six companies from this region were included in the list of the most prominent organizations in the EU that spend most on R&D. This is mainly due to the presence of eleven EU member states, namely Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary.
Despite the small number of specific success stories, the high-technology sector in the Central European countries has acquired new significance during the decade preceding the ranking mentioned above in 2021, i.e. between the global both financial and the pandemic crisis.
However, Central European countries are characterized by considerable differences when it comes to the importance of the high-tech sector in the economy. The regional leader in the high-tech sector is the Czech Republic, a highly industrialized economy with a well-developed production base for electronic and computer equipment, with high-tech exports worth almost €31 billion at the end of the analysis period. That is 18% of Czech exports. Hungary and Estonia also have a relatively high proportion of high-tech exports, at 16% and 12% respectively. Latvia scores 11%. At the same time, there are countries in Central Europe where the high-tech sector is much less important. The share of hi-tech products was lowest in Slovenia and Bulgaria, located in the southern part of the region, not exceeding 6%. In the context of the Central European eleven, Poland and Lithuania were lower in terms of the importance of their high-technology sector, and even second from the bottom – in the case of the share of high-tech employees in the industry in Lithuania and in the services category in Poland. It should be emphasized that Central European countries import much more high-tech products than they export. In most of these countries, trade in high-tech goods showed large negative balances throughout the analysis period. The exceptions were Hungary, Lithuania and the Czech Republic, which in certain years recorded a surplus of high-technology export goods over imports.