Press about RVC

First Money, Then Come Plans

Source: Kommersant

State corporations that signed agreements on the development of seven end-to-end technologies in July presented roadmaps for their development: As a result of the first discussion, five cards were approved, and two were sent for revision. At the same time, according to Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov, state-owned companies should not strive for technological monopoly by buying up all promising start-ups. At the same time, budget support under the federal project Digital Technologies will not be distributed directly, but through development institutions.

State-owned companies that have signed agreements on the development of individual end-to-end technologies should not buy “everything that moves” in the market. The main task is to create ecosystems in which private initiatives can survive, Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov said at the Global Technology Leadership Forum in Sochi.

“We will make sure that the leadership role is focused on creating and support of a diversified ecosystem, and not on monopolizing the technological agenda,” the official explained, adding that it would be more challenging to concentrate such competences within the government.

The Deputy Prime Minister also said that within the framework of the fifth antimonopoly package, the issue of limiting large companies to absorb technological start-ups is being considered.

In total, it is planned to allocate 258 billion roubles for the development of so-called end-to-end technologies until 2024. According to Maxim Akimov, there will be three forms of support: equity participation, interest rate subsidies, and grants. The network of support institutions will include the Innovation Support Fund, RVC, VEB Ventures, Rusnano, the Russian Fund for the Development of Information Technologies, RDIF, and Skolkovo. Also, one support measure — direct subsidization — will be assigned to the Ministry of Communications.

The forum also discussed roadmaps for the development of specific technologies prepared by state-owned companies.

Let remind you that in July, Sberbank became responsible for artificial intelligence, Rostec - for quantum sensors, blockchain and the Internet of Things, Rostelecom, and Rostec — for wireless communication technologies (5G), Rosatom — for quantum computing, and Russian Railways — for quantum communications. According to the results of stress tests of seven cards, two of them — according to quantum sensors and blockchain — were sent for “deep study”.

The corporations indicate that they will not receive funds directly from the budget, but will be able to influence the allocation of support by development institutions. Sberbank noted that financing would go towards creating infrastructure, in particular, a cloud service, the bank will invest comparable funds into it (for now, Sberbank is the most active buyer of start-ups at their relatively mature stages). Rostec said:

“We were only allowed to develop a roadmap at our own expense, and the funds will go through development institutions.”

As for competition, in the field of quantum sensors, according to the Director of Special Assignments Vasily Brovko, there are not so many start-ups so far, and the threshold for investments in the fifth generation networks is too high for them. Russian telecom operators, he said, should become the springboard for the emergence of telecom equipment manufacturers. The Russian Railways explained that they are engaged in quantum communications because of the importance of security issues in data transmission. Rostelecom said that the main task in the implementation of the card is to fulfill the function of a qualified customer for equipment for the fifth-generation network in which Russian technologies should be used, as well as the emergence of IT services for such networks (which requires, in particular, resolving the issue with frequencies). At the same time, the head of MTS, Alexey Kornya, noted that “whoever forms the technical task then receives preferential opportunities.” Hence, it is essential to attract all market participants to maintain a competitive environment. He considers risk as to the probability that by the time equipment for 5G is ready in the world, 6G can already become advanced technology.

However, even the sale of cards by state corporations does not guarantee the emergence of global technology companies. According to the head of the FRII Kirill Varlamov, the question remains what corporations will do with the breakthrough technologies that will be developed.

“If you use it for your purposes, you can't talk about any global technological leadership,” he warned, noting that corporations nonetheless generate demand for projects that were previously supported by development institutions.

“If Sberbank takes on artificial intelligence, we would like it to deliver these technologies to all markets,” adds Mr. Varlamov.

The head of the Innovation Promotion Fund Sergei Polyakov, in turn, noted that 90% of entrepreneurs do not create a business to sell, but want to grow. Although, sometimes, an “unequal marriage” with corporations is inevitable if access to their orders is needed.

By: Tatiana Edovina, Sochi.

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