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Nanotechnologies in Russia die before birth

Российские нанотехнологии умирают, не родившись

Monday, October 28, the Moscow Arbitration court declared bankrupt the company “Angstrem-T” engaged in the production of microchips and received state funding for $ 1 billion.

The fact that in 2008, “Angstrem-T” has attracted a credit line of VEB in the amount of 815 million euros for the construction of Zelenograd production of microchips, which are intended to be used as processors, smart cards, and also for the manufacture of electronic passports and visas of Russian production. Because of accumulated debt on the loan in January 2019 VEB took 100% stake in the plant “Angstrem-T”, demanding to repay the loan and filed a lawsuit on bankruptcy. To these requirements joined by former Minister of communications of Russia Leonid Reiman, as of August 2018, which was the sole beneficiary of the plant. His offshore companies put claims to “Angstrem-T” in the amount of 3.9 billion rubles, of which 423,9 million rubles, Reiman demanded personally.

The official version of the failure of plant is that in 2014, the United States has restricted the export to Russia of dual-use technologies. And in September of 2016, the factory is among a number of other microelectronic companies from Russia were included in the sanctions list of Washington. However, it seems that the real problem was quite different.

“The bankruptcy was a technical procedure. The debt of the plant before the VEB billion — has not appeared today. From the outset, was some not happy. In 2005 he bought the equipment from AMD, from Europe the whole line, which at that time was quite modern. First, the equipment could not clear. While it stood, it was partially corrupted. Then he repaired one team, then the team replaced and repaired the other team.

In 2015 or 2016, it all produced the first plate according to the process 90 nanometers. Then came the sanctions and blamed them. But you have to understand that at this point it’s been 10 years since the start of the project, it was expected that that is at least three times should work”, — quotes, in particular, the portal BFM Director of “the Trinity engineering center” Eugene Gorsky.

If so, then a reasonable question arises: who or what actually the cause is that one of the largest projects on development of high technologies in Russia, initiated at the moment, the government and the Security Council of the Russian Federation, crashed?

Also of interest, and other nuances of development of high technologies in Russia. For example, where is that wonderful nanoplanet, ready to overturn the entire system of modern education in a world that so proudly told me at the time, the head of “RUSNANO” Anatoly Chubais?

Or, say, why the Russian scientists developed the technology of processing of garbage in the missile (!) the fuel somehow turned out to be unclaimed “Rostec”? Why, instead, the Corporation decided to stick throughout Russia with a variety of waste recycling plants using the technology of waste combustion on the grate, the effectiveness of which in the West are increasingly questioning?

As the plant “Angstrem-T”, there is nothing wrong, suggested in an interview with “SP” analyst group FINAM Alexey Kalachev, it will not happen. A legal person, the expert explained, which owns the company, will be held bankruptcy, because the cost of its launch, alas, is essentially not on the market. After that production and property complex as a whole will put up for sale at the residual value, it will redeem another entity, after which set to zero debt, the company will start to produce something and somehow pay for themselves. And similarly, the expert noted, working the entire innovative public business.

— If we look at the economy sufficiently market — developed he idea — we will see there is a natural process that triggers innovation. This interest, on the one hand, the entrepreneur and investors to make money. And with another — aspiration of the scientist or engineer to fulfill their potential. In the market both at risk of finding each other. One money, the other by reputation.

That is, the risks of not society. But as a result of this natural process, if the market is open, the failures are eliminated and luck wins it all.

The administrative system works differently. For example, the official understands that in some sectors the economy is lagging. He begins to track the market in search of suitable innovations, because he invent itself can not. But until the selection until you accept the decision as it will be the chain of command until funding is good purchase — time is running out. It turns out that if the entrepreneur with scientists rush ahead, the administrative machine is obviously running late. In this situation, the lag is inevitable. And when eventually sold outdated equipment while it is embedded in production, the cost of failure is high.

“SP”: — Why?

Because there is no mechanism to weed out failure of the company and promote it successfully. And billions just invested in a project. And then just look at the result and publish reports. Meanwhile, technology is going fast forward. And if in the market there is an incentive for the entrepreneur and scientist in case of a victory to make big profits, that approach does not stimulate. But the cost of failure pays for the budget. That is — everything society.

Take the same situation with this plant for the production of microchips. What market it was originally aimed? And “LIOTECH” plant for the production of lithium-ion batteries in Novosibirsk? This is, as stated, the largest in Europe the enterprise. And what to do with manufactured goods, if the technology is now radically change every five years?

However, economist Nikita Maslennikov believes that the Russian economy still have a chance to keep up with global pace of development and introduction of high technologies. It all depends, in his opinion, from the two conditions.

— First, — he noted, — the great value has the maximum presence of our Russian companies on the world market. Not so much with the finished product, how much as built-in elements in the chain of added value.

For example, we can produce an important intermediate component, node, item. Then we will understand what investment decisions to make in this regard.

And, in fact, examples of some such there are, who say that these niches we begin to slowly develop.

“SP”: — What?

For example, 3D printing. We have here quite a strong position on a number of elements: powders, various stikoudi details for designing great products. Is a global trend. And prospects for new materials we have are quite good.

Besides, we still have not fully achieved the potential of our programmers, “it people” and generally specialists in the digitization of different kinds of economic and production decisions. Here we have a very good potential.

So, with export revenue of our “it people” we make about 9-10 billion dollars a year.

“SP”: — So where are these billions?

— The fact is that we often operate under franchises from other companies on world markets, and to a large extent these funds get just them.

“SP”: — This situation can be corrected?

And here we run into the second element of our breakthrough in the sphere of high technologies. It is, in fact, stimulating investment climate, which would encourage investors to invest in Russia. And here we are today the most narrow and vulnerable.

“SP”: — Well, this issue we have raised many times, trying to figure out who is ultimately behind its appearance corresponds. But for the fact that in the sphere of high technologies we are able to do something, who to thank first? Surely innovation center “SKOLKOVO” is bearing fruit?

To rely on him, of course, not worth it. But from the accounts of SKOLKOVO can not fold, his contribution in all this case is quite obvious.

However, this is something just related to another very serious problem. The fact that we have such innovation centers have several dozen throughout Russia. And it is for the government a big headache: to sculpt is there another “patchwork quilt” of different kinds of local incentive regimes or to create a General enabling environment for business in General?

I personally believe that the second recipe is more strategically correct.

“SP”: — But in our country all sorts of innovative clusters and technoparks so much already, that directly the Apple to fall nowhere. However, their content leaves much to be desired.

For example, in Cheese Arkhangelsk region is also here to build an industrial Park. However, the fact is there is just a huge waste dump, against the construction who courageously and uncompromisingly protest by local residents.

In the suburbs, everywhere you look, technology parks like mushrooms after a rain grow. In fact — it’s just warehouses or even septic tanks for cargo trucks.

— Indeed, pretty much any priority development areas, technology parks and special economic zones. But they all exist formally, so to speak, on paper. And to go in there and really worked really a serious business, missing many things.

“SP”: — for Example?

— There are two shared for a moment. First, it’s a delay with the creation of engineering infrastructure and communications. That is, site is, but it’s a totally open field. And that business was more comfortable, need just infrastructure and logistics. The second important point is the instability of regulations and tax regimes.

“SP”: — And what’s wrong with them?

— We have approximately 80% of all global item of operating in a global economy in different economies, incentives and measures for innovative and high-tech companies in one way or another in our tax code and other legislative acts present. It is what it is. But it is not clear how it works.

The question of codification. How to prove to the taxman that I, for example, a high-tech company and entitled to the use of fiscal and other benefits? This question is still in limbo. If this is proved, not in General, but in some private, and often with the help of any special expertise.

The government here, which is very important, unfortunately, and more seriously late with the definition of critical technologies that are a priority from the point of view of incentives. In all plans and investment climate, and special projects of the second generation, and technological breakthroughs declare that we will create a list and will stimulate business. So what, in fact, technologies are going to stimulate something, it’s time to decide. Do have either a closed list or closed.

“SP”: — But the voice of the state defined priority directions…

But they are very vague and widely interpreted! For example, artificial intelligence. And what exactly artificial intelligence is planned to be developed in the here and now, and then tomorrow and the day after? Here the state has a strong late and prevents the use of incentive measures already legislated, in principle, recorded. And these bottlenecks have a few years of this problem that cannot solve even national projects. As soon as the business will see the real state steps in this direction, then he will say thank you. And since then, everything stops at the level of declarations of intent.

“SP”: — in such hands is it possible to believe that the national projects in the sphere of high technologies is still not fails? At least announced the digitalization of the economy is not bent?

— Well, God forbid that the same national project for the digitization of the economy at least untwisted. In the second half of this yet, but in the first half of the cash execution of the advance for the current year of funds under this project amounted to only 8.3%.

Well if doubled or tripled. But you know what it will be, even in the most optimistic case only one third of development funds. And rests, everything is in not only in the regulatory things. The chamber of accounts in its response to the draft budget directly indicates that one of the risks of failure to plan for economic growth — the lack of a logical, orderly and understandable business system for managing national projects.

Obviously, if we do not organize the implementation of this project, in fact, then to hope for any breakthroughs in all other technology areas will be extremely difficult.

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