markets. Another strong point is the vibrant mix of international and local com-
panies from the electronics sector with successful operations in Bulgaria.
There are several established cluster zones in the country, of which Botevgrad
is the so-called electronic manufacturing center of Bulgaria. It has strong his-
toric traditions in the industry and is located only 60km from the capital and
another big cluster zone - Sofia. Sofia is the executive, legislative and judicia-
ry power, as well as financial hub of the country. Another big cluster is the
Plovdiv one - which is the second largest city and major administrative, indus-
trial, transport and tourist destination.
The Bulgarian electronics sector has experienced steady growth, as produc-
tion volume increased almost 4 times from 2000 to 2010. In 2010 the revenues
were over EUR 1,5 billion, which is the highest level since 1990. The industry
employs about 45 000 people in 2300 companies.
The majority (more than 75%) of electronic production in Bulgaria is ex-
port oriented to key markets such as the EU countries, Russia and CIS,
and USA. By category, wires and cables account for 25% of the total sec-
tor exports, followed by industrial batteries with 11% of the exported pro-
duction and electrical apparatuses with 8% of the export. The rest of the
market is distributed to transformers (7%), integrated circuit (7%), tele-
phone devices (6%), panels and el. tables (6%), PCBs (3%), electric heat-
ers (2%), radio and TV equipment (2%), and others (23%), according to
official statistical data. The export mix has been changing in the recent
years towards products with higher added value requiring more engineer-
ing skills. The market players operating in the Bulgarian electronic indus-
try include many of the large international companies in the sector, as well
as Bulgarian firms that have managed to establish themselves as regional
and global leaders. Their production is aimed at industrial, automotive,
medical, telecommunications, military, lighting, security, defense, renew-
able and conventional energy equipment and consumer electronics mar-
kets. Additionally, the majority of manufacturers have implemented quali-
ty management systems in their facilities.
According to market reports, many Bulgarian OEM companies developing
and manufacturing their own products also offer EMS services to other Bul-
garian and foreign customers. According to the conducted surveys, the ma-
jority of the companies have automatic machines or assembly lines, over
half of them have semi-automatic assembly equipment, and most of them
perform manual assembly, too.
The most common soldering technologies used include reflow process, wave
soldering and selective soldering, and approximately four fifths of the compa-
nies carry out manual soldering as well. The finished products are tested by
different methods and technologies, like functional testing, optical and automatic
optical inspection, in-circuit testing, etc. A small percentage of the companies
operating in the industry use X-ray inspection.
Bulgaria is also marked by rapidly developing components and equipment
production for the electronics manufacturing industry. Most broad is the manu-
facture of PCBs, electromechanics, passives, connectors and mechanical com-
ponents, but also hybrid ICs, microelectronic components, sensors and devel-
opment tools, design centres, etc.
The current issue of South-East European INDUSTRIAL Ìarket magazine
presents some of the leading companies on the electronic manufacturing
market in Bulgaria.