The state begins with IT | Latest news The Moscow Post
01 December 2023

The state begins with IT

Russia and Belarus will recapture "technological sovereignty" with chips.

Recall that President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko proposed filling Russian-Belarusian integration, in particular, at the expense of microelectronics: "We have substantive agreements on other promising areas of joint work that we have repeatedly discussed... this is microelectronics, where we agreed to comprehensively work out the design and production of an electronic component base. "

It is assumed that Moscow and Minsk will develop a strategy for the development of a single scientific and technological space of the Union State, which will lead to an agreement on cooperation in the development of microelectronics at the government level, the correspondent of The Moscow Post reports.

Chip deficits, not brain deficits

Microcircuits, meanwhile, have become a factor in geopolitics. The pandemic shortage of chips (chips) harms many industries, stops the assembly conveyors of automobile companies, and leads to an increase in the price of smartphones and household appliances. According to the forecast, in 2021 7.7 million cars will be produced less than a year earlier. Prices for used cars in the United States increased by a third. This is only part of inflation, prices are rising along the chain, this is called "chip inflation."

Demand for chips of various categories exceeds supply by 10-30%. Prices are rising, but there is little choice. In 2021, five companies provided 90% of the world's chip needs. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) holds 55% of the global semiconductor market. It is followed by Samsung (18%), followed by UMC, (7%), Taiwan, Globalfoundries, USA (5%) and SMIC, China (5%).

Even large international companies have to wait up to two months for the chip. AvtoVAZ, for example, decided to produce its models in a reduced configuration.

Russian companies are also waiting in line. Baikal Electronics orders chips in Taiwan from TSMC. The time from ordering to receiving the product is up to six months.

Belarusian component

Attention to this industry is understandable. The development and serial production of the electronic component base, the state of electronic engineering is the key to technological and technical independence, successful digital transformation, both in Russia and Belarus. This is the basis of innovative development, competitiveness of the economy.

It can be assumed that the Strategy for the development of the electronic industry of the Russian Federation for the period until 2030 (Strategy 2030), adopted almost two years ago, can be supplemented by the "factor of Belarus." The problem of personnel, programs for training workers in specialized specialties for the industry is acute.

Integral and Planar associations are familiar to the Russian consumer, are able to develop and produce special-purpose electronic components, as well as technological equipment for their production, which is important. Strategy 2030 directly points to electronic engineering, which in Russia "has to be revived."

OJSC Planar successfully cooperates with Russian customers, the Russian Federation is the largest importer of its products. Integral is the main Belarusian asset. It includes four manufacturers of microelectronics and a dozen instrument-making enterprises.

The company retained personnel. The most modern line is capable of producing one thousand 200-mm plates monthly according to topological standards of 0.35 μm (350 nm). For comparison, the Russian Micron serially produces microcircuits according to standards from 250 to 65 nm, which by standards corresponds to the level of 2004. The basic modern standard is a process of 5-7 nm. The latest iPhone models are based on a 7 nm topology. These chips account for about a third of the total TSMC release.

Integral chips are bought in India and China. In recent years, the company has been concentrating on dual-purpose microcircuits resistant to special external influencing factors (VVF). In this segment, his team has the necessary competencies, production lines and work team are preserved. Such products are used in space electronics, communication and telecommunications products, in industrial automation, electric drives, power supplies, LED control equipment, payment systems, device control systems in combine harvesters and mounted agricultural machinery. The company's products are delivered to 28 countries.

"Baikal," and then on "Elbrus"

For Belarus, integration in this area is beneficial. In Russia, 87 million citizens use the Internet daily. Including nine out of ten users go to the Internet using mobile devices. Every day, 80 million people use their tablets and smartphones to access information. This characterizes the size of the market, which will grow in the future. The share of the electronics industry in GDP is 2.3%. The total market volume of these products is 4.8 trillion rubles. The volume of the electronic component base market is 344 billion rubles.

More than 2 thousand enterprises and organizations work in the industry, 422 of them are state-owned. New generations of Russian chips in terms of functionality are approaching the best world models. Ten companies are engaged in development, including Milander, ICST, Elvis, Baikal Electronics, Module, NIIMA Progress. Promising projects are implemented by KNS groups (Yadro, Synthacore).

Among the leading manufacturers is Micron Group of Companies.

But the volume of production of developed microcircuits is by orders of magnitude less than that of foreign companies. This does not allow to reduce the cost, make them competitive in the market of civilian products. Microelectronics design centers do not have their own investment resources to enter civilian markets. According to estimates, updating the entire industry will require about 2 trillion rubles.

By 2024, it is planned to create all the main types of electronic products consumed in Russia, including computing complexes with Elbrus and Baikal processors. The task is to produce chips with topological norms of 65 (55) nm, 28 nm, 14 nm. We are also talking about memory chips for solid-state drives with a technical process of 25-30 nm. In the future, it is planned to establish the production of processors, including norms of 7 nm, to produce modern information drives.

Crystal Russian customer "anchor"

The development of the industry requires budget support, tariff protection, tax preferences, subsidies, as well as a guaranteed market. The transition to mass production of chips for civilian markets is possible with coordinated investment and regulatory support from the state. The domestic regulated market (public procurement, state order) will be used as a springboard to ensure the required serial quality and competitiveness. Production volumes will have to triple to 4.6 trillion rubles, and the share of civilian products will significantly increase.

Taxes were reduced, subsidies were provided, the state was ready to co-finance "through" projects - from the development of microprocessors to equipment for these processors with a subsequent guarantee from the "anchor" customer. In August, the press service of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation reported that the government approved a ban on public procurement of imported chips, laptops, tablets, laptops and servers.

According to the Ministry of Digital Affairs, VTB, Rosatom, MTS, Rostelecom, Russian Railways, Russian Post, Rosseti, Megafon and other companies with state participation can become customers of Russian enterprises.

The "second extra" rule has been introduced for the rest of electronics and medical equipment, laptop computers. Since January 2023, telecom network operators will have to purchase only Russian base stations. Rostec Group, AFK Sistema, USM Group are ready to produce this equipment. Taxes have been reduced, subsidies are provided, the state is ready to co-finance "through" projects. Companies buying products with a share of Russian electronics of 70% or more will be returned up to 50% of the costs.

The concept of "through" projects involves, firstly, the development and production of domestic equipment, including its own crystal production. Secondly, these projects should be aimed at the output of high-quality and sought-after products. Demand will be determined at an early stage by an agreement with the "anchor" customer. By 2030, the market should be provided with its products by 60%.

We do not need the Taiwanese market

Russia accounts for only 1% of the global radio electronics market. The share of imported electronics in the Russian market is 80-90%, depending on the type of product. The share of domestic products in the microelectronics market does not exceed 10%. Exports of electronic products in 2020 reached $4.4 billion. The main areas of export are Kazakhstan (19.7%), Belarus (15.9%), India (9.5%).

The gap in civilian needs fills imports. The market for imported electronics in 2020 amounted to about $2.4 billion. According to RBC calculations made on the basis of FCS data for 2018, the total volume of imports of electronic components amounted to $2.37 billion, including $1.29 billion of imported chips.

In Russia, electronic components (chips, semiconductors, transistors, resistors, diodes) then came from China ($605 million), Taiwan ($328 million) and Malaysia ($268.4 million). The same three led in Russian imports in the first five months of 2019. The role of China and Taiwan in imports may be greater, some go through third countries. The top ten exporters included Belarus (microcircuits 71 million dollars, diodes and transistors - 15 million dollars).

Domestic electronics have the ability to win back positions from foreign manufacturers. This was stated by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, speaking at the Microelectronics 2021 forum. The forum was held in Alushta from October 3 to 9 for the seventh time with the support of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Education and Science and Rostec Group of Companies.

The problem, however, is that the processes of digitalization and strengthening of technological sovereignty have turned out to be somewhat divergent. The strategic task is to scale and dynamically switch to Russian processors. In practice, there is no avoiding inertia on the part of users of tested equipment samples.

On the other hand, Russian companies that produce localized equipment based on foreign components do not design motherboards, cannot "integrate" Russian processors into their products. For these companies, the government is acting "too decisively."

At the same time, developers of products based on domestic microcircuits do not have enough time to develop equipment for them, to enter mass production. Meanwhile, the digitalization process is gaining momentum, objectively supporting imported chips already entrenched in Russia.


In other words, the problem is to prevent competition between solutions on Russian chips and Russian production on foreign chips. Chips developed and manufactured in Russia should compete in the market. Hence, in particular, there was a dubious proposal to introduce a point system for assessing the "domestic origin" of products.

But Yuri Borisov, as they say, is adamant - "the requirement to use Russian processors should support the production of Russian processors." According to him, the electronic complex and the production of microelectronics is one of "the most important areas on which the stability of critical infrastructure, banking, defense capability and the development of all sectors of the economy depends." This is part of high-tech industries, the development of which is necessary to achieve national goals. Borisov oversees this direction.

And then experts have a discussion about architectures for Russian processors, about the advantages of switching to the so-called "open," free and, most importantly, "not overseas" RISC-V architecture, which is gaining popularity. The founder and managing partner of the Almaz Capital Partners fund, Alexander Galitsky, believes that "open systems are more trusted and on this basis it is easier to enter world markets where proprietary solutions reign" (Anglo-American licensed).

It's time for technological sovereignty.

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