MANHASSET, N.Y. Is the Russian semiconductor industry poised to take off? That's the question at the heart of this year's Semi Expo CIS, which will seek to provide a roadmap for the long-anticipated resurgence of the post-Soviet chip industry.
Direct foreign investment in Russia's economy in the January-June timeframe almost tripled year-on-year to $26 billion, according to a government report released on Tuesday (Aug. 8). The preliminary figures indicate that direct foreign investment jumped from $9.3 billion the previous year.
With Russia's investment climate improving, President Vladimir Putin has officially endorsed Russia's high-tech industry as a means of expanding the economy beyond energy.
This year's conference sponsored by Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) is also expanding its scope to cover several growing Russian markets, including semiconductors, photovoltaics and design for manufacturing.
"The Russian IT market has increased three fold in the year 2005 as compared to 2004 and should reach at least $40 billion by 2010," said Heinz Kundert, president of Semi Europe/CIS. An estimated $650 million in investments are planned for the IT sector over the next five years, and Russia has established four high-tech zones, he added.
Moscow has also endorsed state programs for expanding electronic services for government and consumers. The programs covering medical education, housing, agriculture and industrial sectors are expected to boost volume domestic production of ICs. That could also provide western chip equipment makers with new markets to tap.
The fast growing Russian telecommunications market is expecting a windfall from the switch from analog to digital broadcasts by 2015, and the Soviet-built Global Navigation System will be restored by 2008. All are expected to boost domestic chip consumption.
Earlier this year Mikron launched production of ICs for electronic passports. Mikron, the largest semiconductor device manufacturer in Russia, is also expanding its fab to accommodate 0.18-micron process technology to meet demand generated by electronic passports, telecommunications and consumer electronics.