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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

High Tech Highlighted at COMTEK

The latest in high technology is on show this week in Moscow at the seventh annual COMTEK '96 exposition, which participants say provides a much needed window into a largely untapped and undeveloped market.

"This is the most important exhibition of this type in Russia," said Yelena Kutukova, at Top S Systems Integrator, a Russian firm that advises companies on high technology. "It serves as a major source of new clients for our firm."

The show at the Krasnaya Presnya exhibition center includes more than 600 Russian and foreign firms displaying a wide variety of high-tech wares such as talking computers and World Wide Web sites. But as befits an emerging market, there are also items no longer considered cutting edge in the West, such as cash registers and bank machines.

"We had many of these ideas before, but the technology was never available," said Sergei Dikov, head of consulting at Top S.

The number of firms showcasing products is smaller than last year's, which, paradoxically, reflects the expo's popularity, said one organizer.

"This year individual firms ordered more booths for themselves, which meant that fewer companies had the opportunities to put on their displays," said Boris Fantaev, marketing manager at Crocus International, which organized the exhibition with the U.S. company Comtek International.

He noted that in countries such as Japan and Germany, even small cities have 80,000 square meters of exhibition space, "but in Moscow we only have 40,000 square meters."

Many foreign firms are racing to get their products shown in a largely untapped market for high technology products.

"This is our first time at this expo, which provides a key for us into this developing market," said Gerhard Kirschner, a representative of Advanced Micro Devices, a leading U.S. semi-conductor manufacturer. "We hope to develop a lot of contacts during the fair."

For many firms, the opportunity to showcase their products translates directly into sales.

"Last year our booth paid for itself," said Alexei Yevtushenko of Dialogue Science, a Russian company that develops anti-virus computer software.

While Soviet-era limits on the use of high technology are gone, the problem now is a shortage of cash to buy it.

"Most firms cannot afford high technology goods," said Andrei Kotlyarov, sales manager at Ramec, a St. Petersburg firm that imports and assembles micro-processors. "The vast majority of business is still conducted with paper and pencil."

Dikov of Top S said that while most production of high technology products is done abroad, there are many companies emerging to provide consulting services.

"Russian companies are better suited to this work since we are on the ground and knowledgeable about the needs of Russian firms."

COMTEK continues daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Friday.