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29 Sep, 2010 07:14

Technology the showcase as energy remains the cornerstone

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has been playing host to his Chinese Counterpart - Hu Jintao - in the Russian pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai, promoting Russia’s hi tech credentials.

The pavilion is a showcase for the latest and safest nuclear technologies, hi-tech solutions for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games and Dmitry Medvedev's pet project – the innovation center Skolkovo, which is open to hi-tech companies all over the world including China.

However, Anatoly Chubais the head of Rusnano says there’s a lot to be learned from China in terms of its technological development.

“China carries out a very successful program of bringing back Chinese scientist from abroad. Everywhere, in Chinese university, in Shanghai I met scientists who just came back from Harvard, MIT, and Stanford. These are people who came back to their own country to develop science and production. The way the project is organized is very professional.”

Trade between Russia and China is heavily weighted towards energy. The world most populous and fastest growing country is hungry for power, and Russia has plenty of it.

But the point of contact lies not only in oil and gas. Chinese companies are investing in manufacturing in Russia, such as Thunder Sky Corporation joining with Rusnano to build a half billion dollar plant in Novosibirsk to produce batteries for electric cars and buses.

Chairman of the board of directors of Renova Group, Viktor Vekselberg, who's coordinating the Skolkovo project, has high hopes for further partnership. However, he notes that Russians tend to overrate their country's scientific reputation.

“No one knows much about us. We are so proud of Russia’s vast scientific potential and think it plays a major role in the global scientific and innovation community. Sadly, this is not the case. China is the world’s largest market and Shanghai’s technology park is one of the world’s largest of its kind – yet people here know almost nothing about us.”

Vekselberg admitted that no deals regarding innovative industries were signed during his visit to Shanghai. That stands at odds with the energy sector – which has reported billions of dollars worth of agreements in just the last few days.