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25 Mar, 2010 10:16

Russian Silicon Valley needs global players

Russia’s new Silicon Valley needs both support from Government and young scientists to become successful, say Russian and international analysts.

Silicon Valley in Skolkovo, which is claimed to become a hub for the development and commercialization of new technologies in Russia, can only succeed if it attracts global I.T. giants, according to the world’s largest PC maker.

But Alexandr Mikoyan, General Director at Hewlett Packard in Russia, told RT it needs government incentives to set up production there. Without those sweeteners, the company warns there are better places to invest.

“Russia's Silicon Valley will fly if there's some Western big players are present big-time in this valley. The presence of these players will serve as the tool to create more talent. China, Malaysia, India, Brazil use government policy, huge government incentives to get Western and foreign companies to come in and produce something. They compensate, I think, 25% of salaries of American companies investing there, they provide free lease. To negotiate with us sucesfully Russia should be in the same kind of domain.”

On Wednesday President Medvedev picked tycoon Victor Vekselberg to lead the hi-tech hub in Skolkovo, west of Moscow.

However, some analysts believe that intellectual property is far more important, with Jack Barbanel from Strategic Investment group saying to Vedomosti that it’s a key factor for a success.

“The basic precondition for a successful innovation centre is a laboratory of ideas, which could later be converted into revenues,” he said using the examples of the existing Silicon Valley in the U.S. and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.