Rus News Journal

The situation in the Russian microelectronics

Branch has gone uphill, but till the best times still far

In the Russian semi-conductor branch the stagnation strip has, seemingly, stopped. Weekly journal Business Week has published the report of British consulting firm Future Horizons in which chances of branch are estimated as quite good enough. According to experts Future Horizons, the worst times passed, and lifting for the first time was outlined in 1996 in the all-Russian manufacture of semiconductors. Critical tendencies ascertain also the Russian enterprises to which correspondents have addressed for comments. But good times still far, and the number of the Russian manufacturers of microelectronics was considerably reduced. Afloat it was possible to be kept only by that who has managed to leave with the production on the world electronic market.

the Russian electronic industry includes 259 factories, 133 scientific research institutes and KB and a number of the technical universities focused on electronics. Number of the personnel makes 280 thousand persons in the industries and 53 thousand in scientific research institute and KB. The electronic industry enterprises let out more than 15 thousand types of products, make more than 2 thousand the materials, the special process equipment and have own industry of pure technological premises.

the western analysts foretell lifting
Rupture of economic communications and market liberalisation have led to a collapse of the Russian semi-conductor industry - and it against the unprecedented world boom which has captured branch. Especially sad have appeared for the Russian enterprises 1990 - 1991 - from now on they have started to lose commodity markets.
and here at last there was a hope gleam. According to the experts the British consulting company Future Horizons, in 1995 the all-Russian manufacture of semiconductors has increased on 10 % to $385 million, and the five years` tendency of recession has ended, and in 1996 of sale should grow on 7 %. Export of chips too has gone on lifting - about $316 thousand in 1993 to $19,4 million for ten months 1995.
position in the industry was changed, chairman Future Horizons Malkolm Penn specialising on high technologies in the Eastern Europe speaks. There are also other obvious signs of life: some the largest companies have started to be engaged in new scientific workings out and involve the foreign capital. The investment banker from New York Robert Toubin does not doubt that the semi-conductor industry of Russia will revive: It will take some years .
Curing of the wounds received by branch, will be expensive, analysts consider. According to Future Horizons, about 130 semi-conductor factories (90 % of manufacturers in the USSR) are closed. Difficulties have begun already in the end of 80 - h when the stream of the state investments began to run low. Since 1991 have left defensive contracts, and strong rates of inflation have increased production costs by 4000 %.
As a result Russia became a museum of the semi-conductor industry. The most thin lines, which Russian companies can do on silicon plates, have a thickness of 3 microns. IBM has reached such technological level in the early eighties. Now the average level of lines in the world industry makes 1 micron, and some companies lead up it to 0,3 microns. Therefore the Russian manufacturers should sell the obsolete chips to clients from China and the countries Jugo - East Asia - for use in an electronic clock, for example. But such business cannot bring many money. Therefore inflow foreign the capital vital for the industry.
some pioneers from the West have already appeared in Russia. Motorola and Samsung have created small scientifically - the research centres. On turn centre Texas Instruments creation. But one new researches it can appear insufficiently. The help in overcoming of technological backlog by term in some generations is necessary to branch. If the West helps, on it will leave 3 - 4 years and if will not help process will be tightened at least for a decade, experts Future Horizons conclude.

If the abroad will not help
widely propagandised state help to the branch enterprises in 1995 it has appeared obviously insufficient. And the program of development of the national electronics, declared presidential, as a matter of fact, has not justified itself. According to the first vice-president of the Russian Federal fund of electronic industry Vladimir Simonov (the fund is created for accumulation of the means going on support of the enterprises), from 182 mlrd roubles last year it has been allocated only 138 billion And from 400 large-scale projects declared by fund it was possible to finance only 99. However which - what shifts all - taki is.
in particular, last year it was possible to finance the large-scale project on Zelenograd Angstreme . At factory the line allowing on design norms to start manufacture of integrated schemes with thickness of lines 1 micron on silicon plates in diameter of 150 mm is established.
one more project is realised now on Micron (too in Zelenograd). The factory has created the joint venture from one of the Hong Kong firms which now finishes manufacture of the pure module for plates of similar diameter. For financing of some projects the fund managed to involve Promstrojbank and ONEXIMBANK.
However other vital issue for the enterprises there is a search of commodity markets. The representative of Zelenograd factory Micron wished to remain not named, considers that those enterprises which could adjust in due time export operations, now increase their volume: If in 1991 we worked only with one firm now at us becomes more and more buyers. With us place orders for those products by which it is not favourable to firms to do . However not all the enterprises could leave with the production on the world market. For this purpose it was necessary for them to tighten a level of production and to lift quality of components. According to the experts, in more advantageous position have appeared Zelenograd Micron Angstrem and Minsk Integral .
On Micron Consider that for the Russian manufacturers of semiconductors the Russian market has appeared is almost lost. The volume of orders for domestic microcircuits, transistors and other electronic components remains is smallest. The part of their Russian consumers passes to foreign components, and some (for example, television factories) simply are in a condition of clinical death.
with this opinion Vladimir Simonov who considers that " does not quite agree; internal demand, strangely enough, is . But it is solidary with in Micron that export deliveries remain for factories actually unique possibility to make ends meet. The basic market for the Russian chips is Jugo - East Asia. The part of Russian production goes and to Europe: electronic schemes of lower class, rather than what are made by leaders of the western industry use demand.
Vladimir Simonov asserts that Now we have sharp growth of volumes of release of semiconductors and if to help our enterprises with circulating assets they will survive even despite growth of cost of power resources .
ALEXEY - ALEXEYS, MICHAEL - UMAROV