We need to sync. with the Trans-Siberian Railway

The Trans-Eurasian zone of development (TEBD) can only be implemented as an international mega-project. One of the key partners in this project is China. It is therefore important to find out how it will be developed from the Chinese point of view - how and where will it dock with the "Great Silk Road"? Is there a mutual understanding between Russian and Chinese experts on what the 'development zone' should be like? Professor Li Xin, one of the authors of the co-operation model for the joint implementation of the "Silk Road" and TEBD projects answers Nicholai Vardul’s questions.



Pekka Viljakainen

I think I'm here for the 5 different reasons. Visual Systems was a company, which I really started when I was 13 years old, 30 years ago. And it grew to 20 000 people so I'm an entrepreneur by myself. I got some genes from my grandfather who was the founder of a company called Nokia in Finland. But my company I started by myself and my grandfather said that Pekkushka, you will survive alone. And I did. 4 years ago I was invited to come to advisor to Russia government, and actually I work here quite nearby. The advisor for the innovation projects like Skolkovo foundation, at that time President Medvedev said that we need somebody who is really having bez strakha attitude that I can question everything. So I did. But I'm not only in Skolkovo and in this Moscow region. I've been in 56 Russian cities in the past 2 years. So I know something about Russian Federation, I was enjoying last week Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Krasnoyarsk. And practically every city between Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, Murmansk to Astrakhan. What comes to the logistics a year ago or a little bit more than a year ago Russian government asked me to come to the board member of the giant called Pochta Rossii, very favorite brand and very modern and ultra-fast. And that's why I actually I said that, well, if we have been able to push, to bulldoze the innovation culture then Pochta Rossii also. So I have been now 1 year and I'm very happy that week ago we announced that now first time in 15 years Pochta Rossii was issuing profits. Only 2 billion rubles but still in 15 years first time Pochta Rossii making profit. It's not my credit only but yes, we have done a lot of work there and we will continue. And then the last point is that I'm also advisor to Mr. Vekselberg who happens to own and buy many airports here in Russia. So that’s why I have also some connection to this logistic world. But anyway a few words, I just try to be very short. I know that you have lot of slides. So, first of all Skolkovo foundation as such is not political show. It's not PR, it's not kind of a fairytale whatever you read. And I have audited, I as a Finsky konj, I have checked everything on detail there. And we really have almost, this is old figure, we have almost 18 000 people working in Skolkovo companies. 18 000 people. People might say if it's a little or it's a lot but I think it's definitely something more than it was 4 years ago. Also why I took this slide is that we have a quite healthy split between technologies, between industries and I don’t know if it's... should I announce it or not, but we will, Mr. Prime Minister will announce the 6th cluster soon, which is agriculture and food production which has a lot to do with the logistics. And it has lot to do with the collaboration between regions of Russia and also our neighbors in China and all over the world. But the reason why I took this photo is that I’m watching this corridor issue from the very practical standpoint. On the other hand, we also as the Pochta Rossii we want to make sure that all the deals from the Alibaba are delivered not in 45 days but in 2 days to anywhere in Russia. And I know that there are some challenge here still. But also these startups, these guys, these are real dots, these are real companies. They definitely need a decent environment to work with and there the hubs if you will or the logistics are surprisingly important. It's not only the logistics where the railway goes. It is very practical issue how to transport people, how to transport business people, how to transport goods, materials and so forth. Actually the reason why I went to the Pochta Rossii board was that I see the clear need to have something which works all over Russia. Because otherwise the whole Russia will be only Yekaterinburg, Saint Petersburg and Moscow and a little bit of Vladivostok. And all the rest will be empty. And I don't think that it's a good for Russia, it's not good for the innovation purposes at all. One word about the innovation. I have tried to say that in Russia the word 'innovation' has been misunderstood. For me the purpose of startup and innovation is to make money. It's not to win the Nobel prize. It's nice if we win the Nobel prize but the purpose is to make money. And to generate new jobs. So also our success is pretty much connected to this fact. And also whether this kind of corridors or hubs are real the only measurement is how many new jobs are generated around those hubs. Not how many billions were spent for the bridges or how many trillions were spent for the whatever airplanes. It's how many jobs are created or not. And that's the only measurement for me. So, our aim is really simple, this is my simple slide, as I said Pekka Viljakainen version of it, very complex presentation. Our job is to make fine new Alibabas, new Facebooks and new Yandexes. And we need to increase the teamplay in the region. I think some of the speakers said that it’s somewhat difficult to negotiate sometimes in Russian regions. Well, I can tell you that I have been in quite many regions and I would say that it's the challenges. You have to take the governor, the Gubernator, take him to the table, then you have to take the deans, the rectors, then you have to take the head of the technoparks and say, Menia zovut Pekkushka, let's talk. And then we talk. And we have to follow up, it’s a heavy heavy work. This is the way how I see the hubs. I think it's no big surprise to anybody. I think if you think about the geographics of Russia, I think the previous speaker was talking about the roads and pathways. From the Russian innovation standpoint these are the main hubs to me. Having said that I must say that the size of the city doesn't correlate with the activity of the city. So, if you are in Saint Petersburg it's not the most active city in innovations because it has been too many years when having flats and having nice restaurants is good enough for money making. So you might find more active companies from Khanty-Mansiysk or from Taganrog than from high and mighty Saint Petersburg. That's why also I must say, and I have openly said, that there is really heavy competition between the regions and it is not correlating whether it's a million city, two-million city. It's pretty much connected to the people and the mindset and the cooperation of the people in that particular region. But then some different angles of this whole story. First of all, if you think about hi-tech companies in general, not talk about Skolkovo but in general, the fact is that, and I think Russia understands this pretty clear, that these hi-tech companies are where they want to be. They are not there where they were born. So, they live where they want to live. And that's why it doesn't help how much we give oil money or something to them. If hi-tech people want to live in Tomsk they live in Tomsk. If they want to move to London they move to London. If they want to move to Helsinki they move to Helsinki. And they do it with Aeroflot like this. They don't have factories, they don't have big facilities. So it's quite easy to do. I think China has the precisely same storyline now that regions have started to understand that even if you were born in Shandong, if the business climate is not good in Shandong I will go to Shanghai. And Shandong has to fix that it is good place to live and raise your children. And then this is the battle. And this is the battle in Russia also. And same goes for the market. 90% of our companies which I'm working with, of course they want to be based in Russia, of course they want to sell in Russian market. But Russian market is only 2,5% of the world. And they want to take 97,5% of the world also. And that's why these logistics hubs, the story of today is very essential to understand that we have to have a way how anything what is produced in Tomsk or Taganrog or Khanty-Mansiysk has to have a path to the warehouse of Alibaba. Or there needs to be a path, a competitive path to the European market. And not all the products in this world are sold in Apple store. There it's easy just send bits but when you have to have something physical, the logistics makes a lot of sense. Not to mention in agricultural business where of course the products are physical. And without the logistic paths it's total way stop to produce anything. And then the fourth one which is there. People don’t want subsidize. I think if you do this kind of a corridor it must be based on the business rationale. Yes, we put some money, seed money from the Skolkovo and from the Russian government budget to help startups just to push moving. But quite quickly it needs to be supported by the private business and private business rationale. That's why I don't believe in... if somebody asked from me I would be against of all the infrastructure projects where everything is paid from the government. It's just great to have a new road if there's no business rationale on that. This is not an official Russian government statement, it's just tolko Pekkuska. And for the logistics companies the rationale is pretty much the same. I mean I don't think that there is any regional logistics. To me at this. Of course I understand that certain amount of Pochta Rossii shipments goes between Saint Petersburg and Moscow but still Pochta Rossii or any logistic companies to work like it's global market, it's a DHL or they want to be DHL. Currently Pochta is not beating DHL but I hope that we will soon. And we are working in this issue.

I'm retiring 2042, so I have a hell of a lot too years to do this. I have a Russian wife who thinks that it takes 300 years. I'm not so optimist. But we will fix it, we will definitely fix it. Coming back to this competitive edge issue. Of course it's stupid even not to mention the hub between Europe and Asia. But it is connected with the lower part of the slide. Because with the current customer service culture, with the current custom procedures we are not going to be a hub. Everybody will fly over Russia, they will go by boat over Russia, the might bypass with the sealed containers through Russia. But nobody wants to be in Russia, in a current customer service, culture so to say. However, I think that this is a positive statement, in the sense that this is something that we can fix. If we would have impossible to change something it would be hopeless. But I can tell from the Pochta Rossii case honestly that already in 13 months what I have seen there customer service time, the tracking of the parcels, fixing these issues - it's there. It’s a clearly development on that. And it's not only certain post offices here in Moscow. You can go to many places and see the difference. So that's why I'm saying that to get these exciting elements to reality, to be a hub in Asia, in Pacific coast like in Vladivostok, the issue is not about the roads and not only the railways. It is on the customer service mentality. And especially for the customs. And I'm not talking about the tariffs. I’m talking about just a service. You know, as I said I work here, there, and I try to take one Apple, iMac box here with DHL. Because I want to have a Finnish keyboard. It was practically impossible. I work in government, I have all the numbers what is needed in this country in my phone, all the numbers. But still it was impossible. So DHL was sending it back to Helsinki, so I took it to my jet and through the Vnukovo, welcome, Pekka Viljakainen! And it's totally insane. The standard equipment with cost 1000 Euros was stopped and it was never delivered to me. Even I know everybody in this country who you need to know. So it sucks big time.

This was not order, it is just a fact. I mean I'm a simple guy. And the last thing there. What needs to be done and I want to be very practical. Whatever we talk about the corridor, whatever we talk about the customs, we have to make sure that it's easy to buy from Russia. I tell you another person story then I stop. I was building an orthodox church, I was building, I gave it to my… as a gift in Finland. And I had 12 companies in Russia who was making bells, these domes, icons, iconostas, all that kind of staff. I was paying them officially with invoice. Money was shipped in various ways to Arkhangelsk, Kursk, you name it. But. When I wanted to get my church delivered to Finland that was a journey. That was a journey! And ultimately it was only handled that a trucks which were going over the border in Vaalimaa in Finland. They had the diplomat status. Even I was willing to pay all the things. Even I was willing to pay all the tariffs. Even I had all the documents. And I put this kind of pile of rubles on top of it – just ship it. Still it was impossible. So I'm saying that today it's not only that people are saying that Russian products are not popular on the West. It's practically impossible to buy it. And that's why the logistics and the culture of this service mentality, especially under the current politics, it's so essential. And it's a very practical issue for me. I will build a new church in 10 years. Let's see how quickly it goes then. But my point is that today the reason why I'm spending time on this – if we want to make money out of this competitive edge the issue is on the service side, on the legislative system also. And then of course for the physical pathways.

"Чтобы добиться результата, решения надо принимать сейчас"

Международная конференция «Россия и международные коридоры развития. Мультипликативный эффект и возможности для частных и иностранных инвестиций» прошла под эгидой ДЭК "ДИАЛОГИ". Партнер конференции - ОАО "Издательский дом "Гудок". Подводя итоги конференции, вызвавшей активное обсуждение в СМИ и блогосфере, мы хотели бы напомнить самые яркие высказывания участников конференции.



Россия должна учитывать новые геоэкономические факторы и сдвиги в мировой торговле и транзите

13 апреля в Москве под эгидой Дискуссионного экономического клуба «ДИАЛОГИ» прошла международная конференция «Россия и международные коридоры развития. Мультипликативный эффект и возможности для частных и иностранных инвестиций». Партнер Конференции - ОАО "Издательский дом "Гудок".

"The Trans-Eurasian zone" - the northern branch of the "Silk Road"

'The Trans-Eurasian Belt of development as a part of a larger geo-political Eurasian project': The State's role in the implementation of this ambitious project - Is there a real strategy for the Russian state? How and who to create TEBD project management? These are the highlights of our in-depth interview with VEB Deputy Chairman, Andrei Klepach. The questions were put by Nicholay Vardul.

Транспортная геополитика

В конце апреля были подведены итоги конкурса по проектированию ВСМ Москва-Казань. Победителем объявлен российско-китайский консорциум. Участок ВСМ станет составляющей частью высокоскоростной магистрали Москва-Пекин. О будущем глобальных транспортных коридоров и роли России в них рассказывает доктор политических наук, заведующий кафедрой государственной политики МГУ им. М. В. Ломоносова, президент ОАО РЖД Владимир Якунин. 

Ocean Liu

That talk about how to attract the more project investment to Russia. Because first of all actually from my understanding inside of trying are we already have a basic idea about how to develop. Basically in first stage it will be 150 billion for first year. And the things it will mainly focus on three basic constructions. First it’s railway, second it's highway. And third one is airport. And this is like the main benefits for Chinese who want to investment to all these projects and it is the main reason to attract it. We don't want to create more money and buy American bonds. That is one of the main reasons. And second reason is for long term like Russia is the best partner in the history. And in economic developing and in traffic developing with Russia it's very wide like every gentlemen said. Because we have a material to change. But this is like a hard way part we are facing like we need more basic traffic investment. That's why we have AIIB. And we are going to provide the support to the highway speed, technology, airports like high speed railway transportations. And for our hard doing probing it's in software actually because for example our company, we're trying to export half million package from Alibaba to Russia because actually we are in the e-business like international e-business is the things our country is focusing on. Like a prime minister Li Keqiang said like international cooperation e-business it's our first target in next 10 years. And One Belt One Road is we call One Belt One Road you call it like a traditional sea work and new sea road. One is from Kazakhstan, Turkey, Russia and eastern to Serbia. And in this case it supports all the traffic developing and economic developing based on digital edges. Because in traditional way you just turn supports like the mail of goods and it doesn't really change the citizens’ life. In our idea those basic construction will seriously change, developing economic and e-business. Because based on like peaceful developing of the strategy. Because actually as I understand like USA and Japan they don't want to involve in this plan which I don't understand why but obviously it does a very positive for far East to people. But like in this traditional Silk road it's actually hear if Russia can provide more legal support for example in customer clean. We have airports, we have flights from North-East China and we fly to Yekaterinburg, it's airport there. And then we spend just 9 days or 7 days. This is maximum we can do. But actually if we have support in legal in customer clean make it more easy and cleaner, we can make it even 3 days. And then our client can get their package in hand. And before we do it, it was 44 days to get a package. And even now sometimes accident happens because here is Russia, everything is possible. So sometimes it takes 23 days, so that will help in attractive investment the most. I think this is most software support we need. And I see like they have some discussion inside of Russia about how this project gets money back because you see it's a fund. So we need to earn money. How can we get money back? I think get money back is like certain things. Because we can look at AII Bank, they are very profitable, we can look Asia bank controlled by USA and Japan. They are also very contribution. And AIIB SOE, it’s all doing the basic construction and helping the export. And more information inside, it's although we have the Siberia railway project because actually you can see from a map, one is from Siberia and another one is from Kazakhstan like EACA countries. And now in first stage they will focus on EACA countries and developing the transportation here. That's why in 2 years ago we opened our branch in Kazakhstan and this year we opened the branch in Serbia. From my understanding not just the traditional transportation like materials, like huge quantity of goods, I think international or internet business is going to change the style of the transportation in this case. Because as I know this year from January Russia and China signed a contract about Customer clean. Like every package under 1000 Euro you don’t need to do customer clean. But still sometimes it doesn't work, I don't know why but sometimes it doesn't work. Because a lot of reasons. And this is software part and hardware part. I think it is good chance for China side and Russian side to build their own basic industry also. Because airports, railway and highway that is the things, Russian have all material and most of material technologies. And in China they plan to build more than 29 airports and the railway is more than 80 000 kilometers in nearly future. Nearly future means they have plan in 3 maximum 5 years to start all these projects. So I think mostly the investments we talk about it is like... if you talk about direct investment and attracting more investment to Russia mostly I think the limitation is in the things we face the most. You know I've not mentioned something bad but the things we are talking about, it is very difficult to communicate in reasonable way. Because I think the most support to attractive foreign investment is software legal help. And in all others Russia is a perfect land.

Только от контейнерных перевозок по трансевразийскому коридору Россия получит 5 миллиардов долларов

13 апреля в Москве под эгидой Дискуссионного экономического клуба «ДИАЛОГИ» прошла международная конференция «Россия и международные коридоры развития. Мультипликативный эффект и возможности для частных и иностранных инвестиций». Партнер Конференции - ОАО "Издательский дом "Гудок". Лучший мировой опыт и возможности его применения в России обсудили авторитетные иностранные и российские эксперты, представители органов государственной власти и крупного бизнеса. Эксперты отметили, что только контейнерные перевозки по трансевразийскому коридору дадут кумулятивный вклад в ВВП Российской Федерации в 5 млрд долларов.

Что нужно для реализации мегапроекта: стратегическая экспертная группа, координирующий орган, схема двойного ГЧП

На конференции «Россия и международные коридоры развития. Мультипликативный эффект и возможности для частных и иностранных инвестиций», организованной ДЭК «ДИАЛОГИ», прозвучали конкретные предложения по развитию инфраструктурных проектов. Партнером мероприятия выступило ОАО «Издательский дом «Гудок».

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