11 April, 2015
Russian officials are urging Western companies to open offices in a technology center in Moscow. They hope the center will help the country reduce its economic dependence on energy exports by developing companies that create jobs in Russia.
The center is called "Technopolis." It was once a car factory.
Igor Ischenko is the chief executive officer of Technopolis. He says foreign companies are beginning operations at the center. He adds that the center is the starting point for the development of new technical and economic solutions in Russia.
Mr. Ischenko says 25 companies are operating in Technopolis now. He says that will increase to 50 by the end of the year. Officials had predicted that the center would hold 100 companies by then.
Many Western countries have put economic restrictions, or sanctions, in place against Russia because of its actions in Ukraine. The sanctions have led several Western companies to decide not to open offices in Technopolis.
Elina Belevskaya is head of public relations for Russia's government-owned Holding Company Composite. It makes high-technology materials.
She says her company talked with Dow Chemical and Dow Aksa. She said the company hoped the talks would lead to making products for the world auto industry, including Ford Motor Company. She says, our company is still rather new and we cannot do everything by ourselves. In Russia, it is not easy to convince large auto companies to buy your products, she says. Working with Dow Chemical would have let us make products for the U.S market. But, she says, the sanctions made that impossible.
It is not easy for Russian companies to find the materials needed for production and for developing markets within the country.
The Russian government also owns the Nanotechnology Center for Composites. It buys its supplies from European companies and many of its customers are also foreign. Peter Molnar is the technical director for the Nanotechnology Center.
"This situation is somehow developing the local market and the local production. And we hope that we can be a part of this local production. And, yeah, I hope that we can show that it is possible to produce here -- even high-end products and products which are quite new and innovative."
Igor Ischenko of Technopolis says there are plans to open an even larger technology center. He says his company will operate it.
But he also says he is worried that Moscow's financial problems may limit the tax reductions companies are given for moving to the city. He says Moscow may not continue to provide free electric power and water to Technopolis if the city's economy continues to worsen.
I'm Bob Doughty.
Daniel Schearf reported this story from Moscow. Jonathan Evans and Christopher Jones-Cruise wrote it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver edited it.
Words in This Story
sanctions - n. an action that is taken or an order that is given to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping trade with that country, by not allowing economic aid for that country (usually plural)
customer – n. someone who buys goods or services from a business
high-end – adj. higher in price and of better quality than most others
innovative – adj. having new ideas about how something can be done
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