Nokia chucks dosh at research in Russian tech city

Mobile manufacturer and Microsoft wheeler-dealer Nokia is planning heavy investment in a Russian “tech city” that the company hopes will see the firm increase market share, while boosting a modernised Russian economy.

The Innovation Centre in Skolkovo, an ‘Innograd’ or innovation town, will be the site where Finnish folk from Nokia open a research centre as part of its global network.

According to the monthly report from semiconductor analyst outfit Future Horizons, the centre will be on the same scale as England’s equivalent, which is one of the largest R&D centres Nokia owns.

The move for a greater presence in Russia appears to be symptomatic of Nokia’s desire to grab a slice of the action in the country via a long term plan of investment, just as it did with India and China.

The deal will mean building on work with Russian universities and companies that Nokia is already talking to, crucially placing them in a position to receive venture capital as part of the project at Skolkovo.

Esko Aho, a Nokia board member, highlights that the investment in the “Russian Silicon Valley” will be financially beneficial for all concerned.

And where Nokia has gone others could soon follow. A certain Steve Ballmer meeting with scientists at the University of Moscow last November suggests that there could be further possibilities in the PC market with big players like Microsoft sniffing around. Though relationships with Microsoft have been shaky in Russia.

The mighty Intel is likely to have a presence in the tech city. Former CEO Craig Barrett has been shaking hands already.