‘To turn difficulties into opportunities’: how SEZ residents manage to take advantage of coronacrisis

With the coming of the coronacrisis, we hear more often stories about closed companies or frozen projects. However, there are examples when a business manages to turn difficulties into a plus. Residents of several economic zones of Russia, including Innopolis SEZ, shared positive cases at a conference hosted by Technopolis Moscow SEZ on 14 May. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

“A U-turn”

Residents of several Russian special economic zones discussed how the pandemic influenced “businesses with preferences”. Board Co-Chairman and Development Director of the Association of Industrial Parks of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development Maksim Pazdnikov named the current period “uneasy but interesting” and noted that some companies managed to quickly “turn difficulties into opportunities”.

Director General of Grasis-Tekh LLC Dmitry Schavelev whose company made equipment to obtain and separate gases shared one of such cases.

“With the beginning of the pandemic we began to see a fall in orders in the main area of activity, and we decided to start producing oxygen equipment. Oxygen is what health care establishments need today to fight the coronavirus and what ventilators won’t operate without,” says Dmitry Schavelev.

“In general, we long had had a developed line and just quickly finished it when the crisis began. Now we are supplying oxygen generators and large oxygen plants that feed hospitals.”

Schavelev’s neighbours in the SEZ managed to take advantage of the pandemic — Khirana+ company that had been manufacturing ventilators before the crisis too. According to the enterprise’s Director General Vasily Shimko, on the one hand, the coronavirus took him by surprise, but, on the other hand, it helps to come together and made a non-standard decision.

“The number of orders has increased, and not the segment of these orders but another one has grown. We have sold ventilators for millions of dollars, but consumables have provided us with much more income. I just rebuilt my factory to produce a bit different product, which is also in demand. A U-turn helped us keep a very good development pace,” Vasily Shimko states.

Innopolis resident’s product hopes to bite off slice of Zoom pie

Vice Director General of Development and Communication with Residents in Innopolis SEZ Vadim Galeyev talked about how one of Tatarstan special economic zones in Innopolis was going through the coronacrisis. According to the speaker, residents have different situations.

“Now we have 115 companies, somebody is doing worse, somebody is doing better. But some companies managed to use the coronavirus as a field for opportunities,” the expert said. “IVKS LLC, which developed the teleconference network system before the coronacrisis too, is one of such cases. It is certified according to all requirements of the Federal Service for Technical and Export Control and Federal Security Service unlike the same Zoom, which has serious vulnerabilities. Now they are launching a big pilot together with the Tatarstan government: a big number of users is expected to connect and Tatarstan will switch to IVKS system.”

Another case takes place at Innopolis University, where the neural network is now taught full steam — it is to recognise the coronavirus on computer tomography results soon. Another story is about Provectus company that develops an AI app in the employees’ security system. One of its functions is to check if they have masks, gloves, disinfectants.

“None supporting measure is applicable for us at the moment”

Also, Medgreat project is among the residents of Innopolis special economic zone into whose hands the crisis has played. As its Director Veronika Abramova said, the team developed special software for hospitals — the telemedicine service. As appointments and scheduled hospitalisation were suspended in Tatarstan, people turn to them for consultation.

Another resident of Innopolis SEZ — Visiology company that used to develop corporate software for business analytics and now focused on monitoring the epidemiological situation — also managed to transform its business in the new reality. Administrations of several Russian regions are among their clients.

“In general now we are waiting for decisions to support the IT sector, which isn’t considered affected. If these measures aren’t taken, food companies will be at big risk. The staff is our everything. If we start to have some problems, some… I’ve almost said Huawei… some strong western companies will be pleased to make our specialists a proposal they can’t refuse,” Director General of Visiology Ivan Vakhmyanin concluded.
By Lina Sarimova