The Skolkovo Foundation signed a strategic business cooperation agreement with the Russian division of Japan’s Panasonic Corporation during a state visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the island nation on Friday.

Skolkovo vice president Vasily Belov shakes on the deal with Panasonic Russia vice president Y. Takaki.   Photo: Panasonic Russia.

Under the agreement signed with Panasonic Russia during the Russia-Japan Business Dialogue forum, the countries will boost their cooperation in the development of innovation in hi-tech and export-oriented industries, such as robotics, biomedicine, information and data storage, urban technologies and agriculture.

Experts from Panasonic will take part in the design of the Moscow International Medical Cluster currently being built at the Skolkovo innovation centre. The deal will also seek to increase the commercial and industrial potential of Russia’s Far East region.

“Today the Skolkovo Foundation has signed an important document with Panasonic, the world’s leader in electronics and system solutions,” said the foundation’s president Victor Vekselberg, pointing out that it was not the first step in cooperation with the corporation, but rather the development and expansion of a partnership agreement signed two years ago.

“The new document represents a roadmap intended to join our forces in the creation of a clean and comfortable city environment and development of tech startups,” he said.

Skolkovo also plans to organize a business mission to Japan for its startups that will include a visit to Panasonic Centre Tokyo and some of the manufacturing plants of the Japanese corporation.

“In just a few years, Skolkovo has become a major centre of innovations and technological entrepreneurship in Russia with ambitious development programs, covering both infrastructure and intellectual resources,” said Junichi Suzuki, president of Panasonic Russia. 

Representatives of RAIDIX and Panasonic Russia signing the agreement on Friday. Photo: Panasonic Russia.

“We are glad to expand cooperation with the foundation and its residents in multiple areas, including IT, smart homes and smart cities, as well as agriculture,” he said.

Panasonic also signed a separate agreement with Skolkovo resident startup RAIDIX, which makes data storage systems for industries such as media and entertainment, video surveillance and high-performance computing. 

Under the agreement signed at the Russia-Japan Business Dialogue forum, Panasonic and RAIDIX will launch Russian-Japanese hardware and software solutions for big data processing and storage onto the global market. The new product, aimed at users such as medical institutions, museums, universities and archives, is due to go on sale in Russia in the first quarter of 2017.

“The project means that our programming solution for data storage systems will be adapted to support “cold” data based on Panasonic’s Freeze Ray system,” said Alexander Katashov, head of RAIDIX. “The user will therefore get a hybrid programming and equipment complex for storing both ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ data,” he said.

Hot data is used to refer to data that is frequently accessed and kept on fast storage, while data that is rarely accessed and kept on slower storage is referred to as cold.

Igor Bogachev, head of Skolkovo’s IT cluster, said the partnership between RAIDIX and Panasonic was an important step in the promotion of Russian technology abroad.

“For Skolkovo and the IT ecosystem, this is affirmation that Russian companies can make world-class products. The main thing is to have ambition and talent.”

Bogachev said the foundation had always believed in the startup’s potential.

“The creation of its product was supported by a grant from the foundation of 21 million rubles [$340,000 at today’s exchange rates] in November 2011. Then, in 2016, the venture fund of Rostelecom [the state telecoms operator] invested in RAIDIX's next round. It’s an example of how the classic venture model works,” he said.

Putin arrived in Japan to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday for his first visit to the country in 11 years.