Program Director of INNOPROM: the efficiency indicator of our work is the number of new contacts

April 20, 2024
In 2024, the international exhibitions INNOPROM and "INNOPROM. Central Asia" will traditionally be held in Ekaterinburg and Tashkent. While one of the Russian Federation key industrial forums to be held in the capital of the Urals (scheduled for July) is still several months away, the event in the capital of Uzbekistan will start in less than a week. Anton Atrashkin, Program Director of INNOPROM, shared in an interview with TASS what countries would participate in Tashkent this year, as well as the business and cultural programs of the two forums.
— What does this year's INNOPROM exhibitions in Tashkent and Ekaterinburg have in common? Will the events attract new industries and expand their geography? In your opinion, is the partnership between Russia and the CIS countries in the sphere of industry really strong today?

— - INNOPROM is constantly expanding both in breadth and depth. Last year the number of exhibitors in Tashkent increased by 25%. However, our main task is not to impress with figures, but to create an effective platform where one can meet and talk to partners and customers, including finding new ones, in two or three days. In this sense, Tashkent is a gateway to Central Asia, to a market that is well known to our manufacturers and whose potential is far from being exhausted. In recent years, we have taken the first places in terms of trade turnover with Uzbekistan, competing with China. The dynamics looks very significant on the graphs: every year the trade turnover grows by a couple of billion, last year it reached $9,718 million. Hundreds and thousands of contracts, partnerships, mutual investments are the basis for these statistics. Even the leaders of our countries recognize the significant role of INNOPROM in this process.

The Russian delegation will traditionally be headed by Denis Manturov, Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation. And all the “captains” of Russian business and regional leaders will be there with him. Their Uzbek colleagues, aware of this, are also gathering all the big business, all the khokims, so INNOPROM is getting a lot of attention. We have to keep in mind that the event is a pan-regional project: delegations from many of Uzbekistan's partner countries are waiting for us. Then, in July we will be hosting our traditional INNOPROM in Russia.
Ekaterinburg, the capital of the Urals, has been hosting INNOPROM since 2010. Over this time, the expo has become a real Eurasian hub for manufacturers. Nowadays it is not only a platform where Russian industrials show their technologies to buyers from other countries. We see manufacturers from Belarus, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and other countries actively promoting themselves at INNOPROM in Ekaterinburg.

While external factors obviously continue to have a negative impact on Russia's foreign economic interests, INNOPROM shows that we continue to be one of the world's technological leaders.

— This year the UAE became the partner country of INNOPROM in Ekaterinburg. Moreover, some experts are already saying that this will allow the Urals (and other regions) to enter the markets of the entire Persian Gulf. What expectations do you have in terms of dialog with the UAE?

— The UAE plays a crucial role in global trade. It is not only a global logistics center where traffic flows from Europe to Asia, from Asia to Europe, and from everywhere to Africa. Today, it is also a growing center of advanced technology. Technology giants, medium and small businesses are coming here. The Emirates have launched a number of advanced development programs, encouraging foreign manufacturers to locate here, providing them with access to global markets. Among the companies that have been able to locate in the UAE, there are many Russian companies, both the largest businesses and medium-sized businesses.

Investors from the UAE have begun to play a new role in the Russian economy. Arab business is entering a number of infrastructure projects, exploring industrial sites and financial services. So, in short, there will be plenty of topics to talk about with the UAE at INNOPROM, just as long as there is enough time.

— Is it already announced who will come to Ekaterinburg from the partner country? What officials and companies? And what kind of entertainment program does the UAE plan for the exhibitors?

— The UAE delegation to Ekaterinburg will be headed by Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Technology. He is an outstanding statesman and businessman. He not only heads ADNOC - one of the most important players in the global oil market, but is also a recognized visionary, his projects related to Masdar renewable energy sources, his initiatives on the COP climate conference are significant worldwide. We will also welcome other members of the UAE government, as well as a delegation of the Emirati business elite. We will try to provide them with a quality business program and B2B meetings.

Our Emirati colleagues have promised to show us their country not only as a technological leader, but also as a vibrant part of ancient Arab culture, and to introduce INNOPROM participants to musical and culinary traditions and folk crafts.

— What other countries will participate in INNOPROM? How has the participants' geography changed this year, what trends do you observe? In particular, are there any changes resulting from the Eastward turn of the Russian economy?

— We usually sum up the results after the exhibition, but we can already say today that the Arab world will be even more actively represented, and not only by the UAE delegation. The number of participants from PR China will increase. We are especially looking forward to our traditional partners from the CIS and EAEU countries. Many of them have been coming to INNOPROM for years. Therefore, there is no special sense to speak about any change of trend - these are not new partners for us, as we have been working with each other for decades. In the sectors where there were supply problems, our manufacturers were able to build new chains as quickly as possible.

— Which sectors of industry are now more interested in promoting their products at the exhibition? For example, manufacturers of urban public transportation are actively demonstrating their models. Can companies producing autonomous transportation systems be included in this list?

— INNOPROM is a universal exhibition, which means that we present all the most advanced industrial technologies. A production director who comes to the exhibition will see modern transportation, the best machine tools, new materials, and advanced industrial IT. We have been developing the concept of autonomous transportation for a number of years and are proud that many companies present their novelties here. They realize that INNOPROM gives them the opportunity not only to receive subsidies from the state and get their first orders, but also to find investors and sometimes professional staff.

Urban transportation is one of the most dynamic industries in Russia. We all ride Russian-made buses, streetcars and trains and recognize the tremendous path our manufacturers have traveled, mastering the most modern technologies and offering their products to new markets. Since leaders from almost all regions of the country come to INNOPROM, this is a great trade fair for urban transportation, from where one can leave with contracts already signed.

— Traditionally, the plenary session attracts special attention of the guests. This year, what will you talk about in Tashkent and Ekaterinburg? What are the most important and acute issues that you would like to highlight?

— Our Main Strategy Session traditionally focuses not only on Russia. Top-level executives share their thoughts and ideas on where the industry is heading: what advanced technologies have already been implemented, and which ones need to be developed in cooperation with the world's industry leaders. The participation of our country's government leaders, relevant ministers from friendly countries, heads of major companies and business associations is always very valuable to us. Despite political conflicts, INNOPROM remains an international platform, and we confirm this status every year.

Meanwhile, our main plenary session in Tashkent this year has a clear focus on interregional cooperation. Together with the deputy prime ministers of Russia and Uzbekistan, the heads of Russian regions and the khokims of Uzbekistan will speak. Today, the level of cooperation between our countries is so high that the regions themselves establish contacts with foreign partners, and governors are a kind of ambassadors of regional companies and promote their interests in foreign markets.

— What can you say about the business program in general? What sessions, meetings are upcoming? What will be discussed there?

— We intend to develop our strongest areas, such as digitalization of production, new mobility, technologies for cities, financing of industrial projects, and engineering. And we will also continue to experiment with new topics such as materials for industry, AI in manufacturing and others. We have few sessions on broad topics or erudition-boosting. The quintessence of INNOPROM is sessions where discussion is combined with B2B, when companies not only present themselves, but also, in dialog with officials, directly influence government decision-making.

— What place at the exhibition and in the business program will be given to the IT industry, to industrial IT? Are Russian developers ready to solve the tasks of industrial companies?

— This is one of the main areas of INNOPROM. This is the fastest growing cluster at the exhibition - Rosatom, ASCON, 1C, Sber, EleSi, Kaspersky, SKB-Kontur and other technology leaders are represented. There are even more participants in the business program. This sector is particularly rapidly developing: new products are released, business demands are growing, formats of vendors' relations with clients are changing. Competition also increases. So there is a lot of opportunities for experts. We are a unique platform in this sense. There are exhibitions where there are more oligarchs and governors, but we have the highest concentration of production directors, who are the main customers of industrial technologies. They are the ones who call the tune.

— How many participants do you expect to come? How will their safety be ensured?

— We do not chase quantity. INNOPROM is a professional platform.
We are happy to welcome all guests of the exhibition, but we should not forget that our exhibitors and partners measure efficiency not in terms of the number of booklets handed out, but in terms of the number of leads - useful contacts. Recently, the number of INNOPROM participants in Russia has been approaching 50,000, and we are getting better at working with large numbers of people, ensuring their safety, and making their visit to our event as comfortable as possible.


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