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Siberia: Silicon Valley on Ice!

Reading the popular tech blog Slashdot this morning, I was directed to an interesting Fortune article about the hot (pardon the pun) market for technology investment out in the frozen plains of Siberia. We think this is great news and should be followed closely – Russia has so many terrific opportunities for foreign investors with the burgeoning and innovative private sector, diversifying away from just natural resources and minerals. If only doing business with state-owned firms could be as rewarding…

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Time for Novosibirsk to export software solutions, not Russian brides

Fortune:

This is Akademgorodok – Academy Town – where Russian high tech booms. This place, called the Silicon Forest, won’t pass for Silicon Valley anytime soon. Private high tech has expanded from a $10 million business a decade ago to a still-tiny $150 million industry last year, with the number of firms growing 15 percent annually. But there is enough softly priced expertise for Intel, IBM, and Schlumberger to make camp here. And in a signal of Akademgorodok’s broadening reach and legitimacy, a local IT firm is producing a Web portal for Oprah Winfrey. … Tapping brain resources, then, becomes a priority. Every year, Russia graduates as many science and technology specialists as India – 200,000 – although Russia is 80 percent smaller by population. Russian science and technology hold a unique position in the world, with a tradition of critical thinking and developmental breakthrough, along with a professional hunger born of the proximity to actual hunger. Russia’s software exports total $1.8 billion annually; the country is the third-largest software-outsourcing destination in the world, after China and India. “Inside Intel we have an expression,” says Steve Chase, president of Intel Russia. “If you have something tough, give it to the Americans. If you have something difficult, give it to the Indians. If you have something impossible, give it to the Russians.