Seven Skolkovo startups pitched healthcare and infrastructure AI solutions to Chinese technology companies, investors, and international organizations during the online Russia-China business mission, which kicked off today.

The business mission follows a closed online meeting, which took place on 25 November, with Chinese development institutes and sector organizations (Zhongguancun Science and Technology Park, otherwise known as China’s Silicon Valley, the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence, DiDi company, Skoltech, the Skolkovo Foundation, and the Chinese Embassy in Moscow) where both sides discussed the opportunities that strengthening bilateral ties may bring, especially in the field of artificial intelligence. Following the closed meeting, the two sides held an open webinar for Russian technology firms seeking entry into the Chinese market. Taking part in the webinar was the director of the China Competence Center of St. Gallen professor Thomas Casas i Klett of the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo, the CEO of Eurasia Development Andrey Prokhorovich, the head of the Skolkovo Foundation representative office in China Evgeny Kosolapov, and the CEO of ExpoPromoter Semyon Zagaynov.

Anna Bezlepkina of the Department of International Cooperation at the Skolkovo Foundation acted as moderator for the mission and began by emphasizing that the solutions presented by the participating Skolkovo startups are in line with the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). Skolkovo’s AI for SDGs project, led by Sergey Dutov and Anastasia Minaeva, aims to develop successful AI solutions that are applicable to these goals, and the program consists of four stages designed to mature the technologies offered by Russian high-tech startups. The Russia-China business mission represents part of the final stage of the program by focusing on cross-border cooperation.

Chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation Arkady Dvorkovich. Screengrab:

“This is the second online business mission to China this year and this time it’s taking place with the aim of implementing artificial intelligence for sustainable development,” said Skolkovo Foundation chairman Arkady Dvorkovich during his welcome speech. “The dialogue between Skolkovo companies and our Chinese partners has been ongoing for several days and I hope that today’s pitch sessions will culminate in interesting collaborative projects. Our collaboration is multi-faceted and Skolkovo's main partner in China is the Ministry of Science and Technology. We are implementing joint programs and see that Chinese companies are very interested in the Russian market and in Skolkovo, with flagships such as Huawei, Alibaba, and many others already working with Skolkovo; we are seeing a continued positive trend in this regard. We know that participation in our joint business events has already benefited Russian companies on the Chinese market and Chinese companies on the Russian market, and we are prepared to conduct an acceleration program for Chinese companies that are seeking entry into the Russian market. Of course, today’s world is difficult but the pandemic has also brought about new opportunities. The startups presenting today have great potential in medicine, security, and other fields with regards to artificial intelligence. I hope that these technologies will interest potential investors and potential customers. We have no prejudices, we have no limits in terms of relations with other countries, and we are fully open to collaboration with China.”

The presenting startups were QBoard, Navigine, Agora Freight, Botkin AI, AIMED, Medical Screening Systems, and Siberia; each was given seven minutes to pitch their solutions. The solutions offered quantum computing for solving general-purpose optimization problems, integrated positioning technologies for multiple industries, an online IT platform for freight, a software-based platform for radiological images analysis based on AI technologies, a mobile application for remote detection of malignant skin disease using neural networks, a medical decision support system based on neural network algorithms, and a radiology quality control system powered using AI-methods.

Day-two of the business mission comprises B2B meetings between Skolkovo startup companies and Chinese companies.