Moscow is already the capital of the future. At least according to a recent study of the Foreign Direct Investment Intelligence (member of the Financial Times Group) the capital of Russia ranks 6th out of 301 cities of the future in Europe, and first in Eastern Europe. The cities were assessed over 5 categories: economic potential, labour environment, cost effectiveness, infrastructure and business friendliness.
Such a recognition is a result of the implementation of long-term city programs of the Moscow mayor’s office. The city systematically raises investment attractiveness in all of its spheres, ensuring the building of infrastructure and platforms for all the participants of the market. One of such directions of the city is the creation of modern technoparks and technopolises (or science or technology or research parks) under the aegis of the Moscow City Investment Agency.
The first technopark in the world is considered to be the Technopark at Stanford University, California. Its creation in 1951 launched the development of the Silicon Valley. The first technopark in Moscow was opened in 1991 at the National Research University of Electronic Technology in Zelenograd. It is a part of Moscow, so called Soviet Silicon Valley, one of many science cities of the USSR. So there is no surprise that Zelenograd became first to map technoparks on Moscow science landscape.
By the beginning of 2010s the IT sector of Moscow has formed a comfortable environment for the development of technoparks due to three main aspects.
- Entrepreneurs and leading tech companies were in a pursuit for new legal and spatial formats. Existing ones could not meet the growing requirements for efficiency, flexibility, accessibility and compactness.
- Young geeks were looking for better opportunities to apply their groundbreaking skills in IT and tech sectors. Graduates of such universities as MIPT, MEPhI and MSU are considered one of the best and are in a great demand all over the world.
- Last, but not the least, city policy and federal agenda ensured new investment into technoparks. Since the end of 2000s the city has been withdrawing manufactures from Soviet era due to ecological and economic reasons. Industrial territories occupied 30% of city area that now can be revitalized into more effective usage. Moreover, ex industrial areas are already provided with all infrastructure needed and are located in middle part of the city. At the same time, the economic branch of city administration has been conducting new legislative policy in order to implement attractive economic conditions both for investors and future residents. And finally, Moscow City investment agency introduced a new b2g and b2b platform – Moscow Investment Portal. On the part of the federal government large state investment programs and the development of the federal legislative base were ensured.
As at the beginning of 2018 there are 33 technoparks in Moscow, 25% of all parks in Russia. This figure seems even more significant compared to global indicators: London – 4, Hong Kong and Singapore – 2, the whole Japan – 23. There is ample evidence that the market will continue to grow. Also this growth is supported by existing high demand: technoparks vacancy rate is about 5% (with an average of 14.4% in the city).
The total investment for 2011-16. has reached almost 50 billion rubles (about $900 m).
Nowadays, technoparks are becoming one of key drivers of city development. In 2016 Moscow technoparks collected 60 billion rubles of revenues (more than $1bn). In comparison, in Hong Kong for the same period, the revenue was 10 times less. There are about 1700 resident companies operating in technoparks and providing more than 45,000 jobs.
Such success is largely due to the synergy of comfortable conditions for both the investor and the resident of the technopark. Thus, the reduction of the tax burden after the assignment of the status of the technopark may amount to 25%, which includes the abolition of the property tax, a 99.3% tax decrease on land payments and a 26% reduction of income tax. A resident of technopark is provided with high-tech infrastructure, consulting support of the management company, the opportunity to receive city subsidies for the promotion and support of business, and, if certain parameters are met, can apply for a rebates on income by becoming an anchor resident of technopark.
This tendency makes Moscow one of the key players in Russian innovation landscape for the next decade, declared on a federal level to be a time of digital economics. This means that technoparks are becoming fundamental for national development.