The potential of the IT industry in the BRICS countries

02 June 2023

On May 31, during the CIPR Forum in Nizhny Novgorod, RUSSOFT was holding a session with a title “BRICS. Digitalization as an impulse of international cooperation”.

BRICS countries occupy a unique place in the global economy. Together, they create about 25% of global GDP and are a large–scale global market – about 3.21 billion people (42% of the World population). Today, BRICS members (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) are key and strategic partners in the fields of trade, finance, and technology.

The BRICS “Economic Partnership Strategy until 2025” is mainly aimed at reforming and strengthening the international financial system, which was shaken by pandemic and by restrictions imposed by anti-Russia sanctions, as well as at developing scientific and technological cooperation to ensure the technological sovereignty of BRICS countries.

The participants of the BRICS panel, organized by RUSSOFT, have been discussing opportunities of cooperation in the scientific and technological spheres that maximize the potential of the organization to meet challenges that arise at the present time. Another topic for discussion was the formulation of Russian technologies and products which are in demand in the BRIC markets as well as the new future model of interaction between BRICS countries to favor the digitalization of economy.

The discussion was moderated by Valentin Makarov, President of RUSSOFT. At the very beginning he stressed on the importance of cooperation between BRICS countries in the IT-sector:

Information technologies transform all areas of the World economy, leading it to a new technological paradigm. Therefore, by cooperating with BRICS countries in the field of IT, we will be able to develop the entire economy of our countries even faster together, gaining leadership in the global market.”

Representatives of all BRICS countries spoke at the session. Xiang Bo, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kazan, noted that IT is one of the main driving forces of China’s economy, and this trend is spreading to many BRICS countries:

“BRICS cooperation is entering a phase of high-quality development. Cooperation in the field of digital economy has been an important topic at BRICS summits for several years in a row. In the coming years, BRICS countries should make of digital economy the main point of economic growth. 

The development of Sino-Russian relations at a high level has created good conditions for digital economic cooperation between the two countries. The digital economy has become a new focus of Sino-Russian cooperation.”

Subham Sarkar, Independent Director, Russia India Special Interest Group (RISING), spoke about the tasks that are already being carried out between India and Russia, and about the potential of cooperation with other friendly countries within the framework of BRICS.

“First of all, it is necessary to increase human and intellectual potential in order to create innovations in the field of technology and to switch to their own ecosystems. This will contribute to a further transition from dependence on the current global dollar-centered financial systems, which is especially important on the eve of the BRICS summit in August, where there will be an opportunity to discuss the transition to the BRICS currency,” the speaker said.

Tian Zhang, CEO of iFlytek (China), spoke about the experience of working with Russia and about prospects for cooperation. Mmboneni Muofe, Deputy Director General for Partnership in the Field of Socio-Economic Innovation of the Ministry of Science and Innovation of South Africa, and Marcello Costa, CEO of Fayrix Software (Brazil) also spoke on behalf of their respective BRICS countries about opportunities and priorities of cooperation.

From the Russian side several RUSSOFT members took part in the BRICS panel, they have been as follow:

Dmitry Dyrmovsky, CEO of the Speech Technology Center, focused on artificial intelligence as one of the key areas of cooperation: 

“Among the areas of cooperation between BRICS countries, we can single out a unified approach to the regulation and ethics of artificial intelligence, as well as cooperation in developing that technology, which has already proven its effectiveness and is ready to scale. Solutions of Russian developers based on speech technologies, computer vision, biometrics as well as cyber-security solutions to protect all of them from various types of attacks, including voice deepfakes, are leading in international competitions, are used in many regions and countries of the world, and we are ready to share expertise, developing the best technological solutions in synergy with our partner of BRICS.”

Lev Matveev, Chairman of the Board of Directors of SearchInform, shared the company’s experience in entering foreign markets, including BRICS countries, and stressed the necessary directions for improving exports:

“Our main experience is in Brazil, Argentina, the Middle East, and we are also constantly looking for partners in China as a promising direction for us. The mentioned regions are already saying that they are ready to switch from American to Russian solutions to build their technological sovereignty. They all witnessed the situation Russian companies got into when American countries suspended support for their ICT-solutions, and other BRICS countries do not want to find themselves in a similar situation.

Andrey Shastin, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships at Auriga, highlighted the main difficulties that arise in working with new markets:

“The active pursuit of digital sovereignty spurs the development of relations between BRICS countries, but commercial interests and plans for its implementation still differ significantly, and each country adheres to its own strategy. Now, the key obstacle is the lack of accurate and timely analytics of local markets and customer needs. A possible solution to this problem could be in creating groups of commercial exporting companies whose services could complement each other. However, companies often have their own strategies, interests, and products and are not inclined to share their experience with others.”

The rest of speakers at the session:

  • Pavel Fedosov, Deputy General Director, GC “Tsyfra”, noted the creation of competences centres and education as two main areas for cooperation with BRICS countries;
  • Dmitry Ontoev, Advisor to the Head of Moscow Information Technology Department, spoke about the way that Moscow government assesses the opportunities of technological transformation together with BRICS countries;
  • Igor Pyasetsky, Honorary Representative of the Russian Chamber of Commerce in India, suggested promoting and looking for partners in BRICS countries through the infrastructure of the Chamber of Commerce in India, and said that this process is especially fast with ready-made solutions for the Indian market.
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