Russia’s Technology Industry Enters New Era


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Russia’s Technology Industry Enters New Era

The Russian technology industry is progressing from strength to strength on the back of robust economic growth, greater political stability, expanding university/state funding programs, and increasing foreign investments. Marking this new era in Russia are recent manufacturing process implementations in: 130 nm and 90 nm, and eventually 65 nm; project announcements for 45 nm technology, dramatic escalation of Russia’s nanotechnology industry, and significant expansion of the PV sector, including 10 polysilicon/feedstock manufacturing projects in development.

Russia’s high level of education, history of academic research in semiconductor physics, production of electronics systems for sophisticated applications (aerospace, communications and others), and robust industry growth are creating new opportunities for equipment and materials manufacturers. With political stability and a favorable business climate, the Russian economy is booming. The gross domestic product rose by 6.8 percent in 2006, and expectations are higher gain in 2007. With rapidly expanding IT-related markets, increased government and corporate spending on information and communication technology infrastructure, and growing regional consumer spending, local manufacturing of semiconductors has become a national priority and the number of semiconductor manufacturing projects in Russia continues to escalate.

This report provides an update on important developments in the semiconductor, PV and nanotechnology industries in Russia.

Semiconductor Manufacturing Projects in Russia

1. Mikron, the biggest semiconductor device maker in Russia—together with their mother company Sitronics—have cut a deal with STMicroelectronics. Together, they will provide a 0.18 micron CMOS EEPROM process, the starting point for Mikron's roadmap down to 65 nm. Although project execution was delayed three months due to export control issues, the project launch (first silicon) is still scheduled for the first quarter of 2008.

2. “Angstrem T” has teamed with Advanced Micro Devices Inc. to implement a 130 nm CMOS process in their new fab. The fab is being set up as a pure foundry for the global market. The start of Angstrem’s production line is planned for the end of 2009 and further expansion and upgrade up to 90 nm–65 nm technology level are planned for 2010. Following the above upgrade, Angstrem will start working for local markets—continuously increasing local market share. Currently “Angstrem T” is redesigning its fab with participation of M+W Zander.

3. At the end of August 2007, Advanced Electronic Systems (AES) announced that it was set up to acquire Altis, with the intention of producing European and Russian designed products at the 200 mm wafer fab. Global Information Services (GIS), a Russian-based holding company in Moscow, is the parent company of AES. It was founded by the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and by the Russian Academy of Sciences with backing from the Russian bank of development Vnesheconombank and the Russian government.

The Altis deal signals continued activity in the market for technology transfers by going one step further with GIS acquiring a company and its manufacturing site. Altis has been producing electronic components using 0.25 micron aluminum technology and 0.13 micron copper technology, mainly for communications, automotive and security applications.

4. In October, the Investment Commission of the Russia's Ministry of Economic Development approved Sitronics plans to build a semiconductor fab for Mikron to produce flash memory ICs at the 65-45 nm technology level. Sitronics is the parent company of Mikron.

    From now until 2009, estimated investment is $2.3 billion—with construction to start in 2008 and production planned for 2009. The new fab will operate as a separate business unit with estimated Sitronics share at 51% and the State at 49%. Basic investments will come from the state Investment Fund, controlled by the Ministry of Economic Development (MEDT).

    Credit Suisse Investment Bank evaluated the project. According to the Bank report, the discounted payback period will take 10 years and capital weighted average cost is 8.64%. Production area will be about 30,000 square meters with 10,000 square meters of clean rooms. Initial production volume will be 3,000 wafers per month, ramping up to 10,000 wafers per month. The new fab will employ about 1,700 people.

    The new fab will produce semiconductor devices for the local market, including digital TV, receivers for GLONAS System, SIM cards for 3G mobile communication, as well some other consumer applications.

5. A 100 percent state-funded semiconductor manufacturing project is planned at Integral, Belarus.
The project is a CMOS process with technology level at 0.35 micron, wafer size of 200 mm, and initial production volume of 1,000 wafers per month with planned expansion up to 2,000 per month. Products will include processors, memory, advanced logic and others. The General Contractor is M+W Zander, with participation of Intecs and Fraunhofer Institute. The launch of the production line is scheduled for April, 2008.

6. In addition, a number of companies, R&D institutions and IC design centers in Russia have projects funded from the Federal and regional sources.
The projects include:

    - MIET in Zelenograd, which is setting up a Photomask Center for the design, manufacturing and cataloging of photomasks.

    - “Pulsar” company in Moscow focusing on microwave device design and manufacturing.

    - “Istok” in Fryazino with an emphasis on microwave devices and modules for avionics, industrial automatics, etc.

    - OLED manufacturing project in Autopribor Plant in Vladimir.

    - “Svetlana” in St. Petersburg, which focuses on optoelectronics development and other development projects.

Nanotechnology Developments

Russia is making important strides in nanotechnology. On July 4, 2007, Russian lawmakers approved the creation of a state-run nanotechnology corporation. President Vladimir Putin has elevated this area of science to a national priority and has pledged US$7 billion (euro5.15 billion) in state funds. The Russian Nanotechnology Corporation (Russian: Роснанотех, Rosnanotekh) is a Russian non-profit state-owned corporation created to ensure interaction between government, business, and scientists in the implementation of state policy in nanotechnology and the nano-industry.

Nanotechnology is "a key direction for the development of modern industry and science," Putin said, comparing its importance to the birth of nuclear science.

As a key part of the Nanotechnology National Program, a Nanotechnology Center is being constructed on the territory of the famous Russian Scientific Center, “Kurchatov Institute” in Moscow. Currently the project is going through the facility design stage, managed by M+W Zander. In parallel, the work with equipment suppliers has started and the launch of the Center is scheduled for the first half of 2009.

PV and other Semiconductor-Related Industries Development

Since the beginning of 2007, significant progress has occurred in Russia/CIS on developing projects for polysilicon manufacturing, including TCS.

Currently, 10 polysilicon/feedstock manufacturing projects are under development in the CIS, including the following ones:

    • NITOL—starting from 2009, 3,700 tons per month
    • Solar Export—from 1,000 tons in 2009 to 2,500 tons per year later on
    • Russian Silicon–3,000 tons per year; 2010
    • Renova Orgsyntes—2,000 to 4,000 tons per year starting from 2009
    • Poldosky Plant—production volume unknown
    • Baltic Silicon Valley—from 5,000 to 20,000 tons per year by 2012
    • Zaporozhye—3,000 tons per year starting from 2010
    • Kazakhstan LGK—5,000 tons per year
    • Kazakhstan TSK—3,000 tons per year
    • Synthetic Technologies—500 tons per year

The two major technology and equipment suppliers for all the above projects are GT Solar Incorporated, USA and SolMic, Germany.

All the above projects are known and open for contracts. They will be presented at Semiconductor and PV executive business conferences, organized by SEMI, in conjunction with the first ever SEMICON Russia 2008 to be held in the World Trade Center, Moscow on June 2–5, 2008 (see www.SEMICONRussia.org).

SEMICON Russia 2008

On June 2–5, 2008 high-level representatives from semiconductor and related industries, Russia’s high-ranking officials involved in the strategy development of local semiconductor and related industries, investors and project owners will meet in the WTC Moscow for a four-day event consisting of:

  • Two-day exhibition on June 3–4
  • Three executive business conferences to be held on June 2–4 in conjunction with the Exhibition
  • Technical symposium on June 3–4
  • Optional company tours on June 5.

Each day of the conference has a theme:

1) Full-day Photovoltaic Conference on Monday, June 2 will be focused on poly Si and feedstock manufacturing projects in Russia/CIS. It will feature presentations from the local projects’ owners, as well as from companies providing technologies, equipment and expertise to local projects/companies—with GT Solar and SolMic as major players.

2) Full-day Semiconductor Executive Market Conference on Tuesday, June 3 will feature presentations from top global and local semiconductor industry executives, Russia’s high-ranking officials involved in the strategy development of local semiconductor industry, Russian projects’ owners/managers, as well as their strategic partners from outside Russia—with STMicroelectronics, AMD and Infineon as major players.

3) Full-day “Start Up in Russia” Conference on Wednesday, June 4 will cover topics related to establishing businesses in Russia. This will include logistics set up, ownership, profit withdraw, IP protection, local staff hire, etc.—with presentations from M+W Zander, Schenker and other companies who have been working in Russia for years (in some cases, decades). These companies have become deeply involved in the process of semiconductor and related industries development in this emerging region.

Optional company tours will be arranged on Thursday, June 5 with an agenda to be specified later.

SEMICON Russia 2008 will be held in the World Trade Center, Moscow on June 2–5, 2008. For additional information, see www.SEMICONRussia.org).