Uzbekistan’s hi-tech sector

>>Android tablet production starts up in Uzbekistan

June 24, 2013 — For Western companies, Uzbekistan’s image as a place to do business is at a low ebb. The rule of law in Uzbekistan is considered weak and corruption widespread. India and China, though, have been celebrating some recent successes.

China has been grabbing headlines with large-scale initiatives often thrashed out at government level but Indian companies have also, often more quietly, been making headway.

One of the more eye-catching announcements was that a joint-venture between OliveTelecom, an Indian mobile technology manufacturer, and UzTelecom had started production of its Android tablet near the city of Navoi in central Uzbekistan (June 21).

A factory in one of the Uzbek government’s economic free zones, a low tax area for foreign investors, is making the OlivePadV-T300 Tablet PC. The tablet will be sold within Uzbekistan only and retail at 350,000 som (roughly $160).

Production of the OliveTelecom tablet shows that foreign investors can, potentially, operate in Uzbekistan and also that the Uzbek labour market is capable of producing hi-tech gadgets.

Neighbouring Kazakhstan has long said it wants to diversify its economic base away from heavy industry and the energy sector. It can now look to Uzbekistan for advice.


This story first appeared in issue 140 of The Conway Bulletin, a weekly newssheet for Central Asia and the South Caucasus

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