May 28, 2014
Uzbekistan’s electrical engineering industry
Uzbekistan’s electrical engineering industry is one of the country’s fastest growing sectors of economy. Within a short period, it has developed into a complex of manufacturers of a wide range of products, such as refrigerators, televisions, gas stoves, power convertors, cables and other electrical component parts. In addition to them, the industry contains producers of high-tech gadgets – tablet computers and cell phones.

The history of making up Uzbekistan’s electrical industry was full of difficulties, but today it is Central Asia’s leader offering the region’s widest range of electrical products and home appliances – hi-tech gadgets, telecommunication equipment, elevators, power-saving lamps, various cables, etc. Uzbekistan could not even dream of such an industry 22 years ago. The country had to import most of the electrical goods it needed and pay a lot for them; and their quality did not often meet the necessary standards. The situation had to be changed through setting up modern factories capable of supplying high-quality electrical products to the local markets, which was quite a difficult task.

In 1994, the Uzbek state corporation of electronic, electrical and instrument engineering industry Radioelectrontekhpribor was reorganized to become the association Uzeltekhsanoat. The association was to bring in market economy mechanisms in the industry, upgrade and renew the equipment, and organize manufacture of new competitive products. Uzeltekhsanoat actively engaged in arranging purchase and installation of new machinery, training new personnel and improving the skills of the existing workers in the industry, finding strategic business associates, etc. All these efforts proved to be fruitful – gradually, new electrical engineering manufacturers appeared in the country; and some of them began to export their products. However, the end of the 1990s saw a lot of technological breakthroughs in the area of electronics and electrical engineering worldwide, and it was not always easy to catch up with them.

The country’s electrical engineering industry had to quicken its pace under those conditions, taking innovative steps of increasing its competitiveness. In April 2004, the government approved a series of new measures to support the association uniting 34 businesses already. These measures to ensure further sustainable development of the industry were based on adoption of the best international practices.

Under the document providing for this new policy, the association carried out a number of projects aimed at assisting the local manufacturers of the industry in launching new products – competitive in the local and foreign markets. Equally important were the steps taken to give training, retraining and refresher training to the industry’s workers, engineers and managers. Thanks to these efforts, the local stores began to sell Uzbek-made electrical products as well. Today, a large part of them offered in the domestic markets are made in Uzbekistan. The local production in 2005, for instance, amounted to 80.9 billion soums; in 2010, its worth exceeded 470 billion soums; in 2012, it was 900 billion soums’ worth, and it was 1 trillion soum’s worth last year. In 2013, the country’s output of flat-panel televisions had increased 3.6-fold, and the production of power-saving lamps, washing machines, and radio-frequency cables and wires had grown by 82.8 %, 31.9%, and 38.4% respectively, as against 2012 (Currency rates of CB from 27.05.2014 1$= 2296.43 soums).

Yet the most striking example of the industry’s success is its achievement in production of gadgets – the most technology-savvy area. Last year saw the first cell phones manufactured in Uzbekistan. Branded UzTE, they are produced by Pengzhong Xingsheng JV based in Sirdaryo region. The company manufactures three UzTE phone models, each for a different price segment: Grand V, Grand M, and Grand X. Now the company is working on expanding its production and designing new models. In the same year, the Uzbek-Indian joint venture Olive Telecom based in the free industrial economic zone Navoi launched the production of the seven-inch web-pad OlivePadV-T300 supporting GSM and CDMA standards – the first Uzbek-made tablet computer. In the near future, this company is going to also start manufacturing two cell phone models: the low-end candy bar Z80 and the smartphone K100. Chinese company Asiatelco is going to supply component parts for them.

Infinity Electronics JV, one of the group of companies Artel and a member of Uzeltekhsanoat, is another manufacturer of mobile phones in Uzbekistan. It was the first to offer ones with software supporting the Uzbek language. The first phones made by the joint venture came in six models: classical mobile phones U30, H35, and D83, and the touch screen smartphones Adi5, Adi5 CDMA and Komi3. At the second production phase, they launched the low-end mobile phones Sport, Race, and Sprint, and the two high-performance smartphones Adi5 S and Perfect1. With the full production capacity reached, the company will manufacture up to 800,000 phones a year.

Another interesting project carried out in the industry is organization of manufacturing personal computers in cooperation with the Singapore company Prescient Systems & Technologies Pte Ltd. The parties have already been through the feasibility study and are going to set up the production in Sirdaryo region soon.

The beginning of the current year also saw important developments in Uzbekistan’s electrical engineering industry. The president of the country approved the program of further development of the industry for the years 2014 – 2018. It provides for a number of quite interesting measures. The association Uzeltekhsanoat has been reorganized to be an open joint-stock company whose strategic tasks include pursuing a uniform policy of introducing the latest and highly efficient technologies to be used by the industry’s businesses and further expansion of the home-based production. The President has also exempted Uzeltekhsanoat JSC from the taxes on the land and property till January 1, 2018, with the funds received from this exemption to be allocated to reinforcement of the industry’s material assets and training and refresher training of its personnel. Under the program, 25 various projects amounting to $153 million are to be implemented. One of these projects is Electric Home Appliances Marketing and Production Center to be established in cooperation with Chinese investors. The center is to be set up in the idle-standing production area of Motor Plant based in Tashkent. From 2014 to 2017, $25 million are to be invested in the project; the sum is going to include foreign investments made by the Chinese companies Midea and Changhong.

Experts estimate the center will provide at least 1,600 new jobs and allow for phased growth in the localization of production and expansion of exports. In the years 2015-2016, they are planning to launch production of refrigerators in cooperation with Midea, with annual output of 300,000 units. Changhong is going to manufacture televisions – up to 500, 000 units a year. The project also provides for production of aluminum and plastic component parts for home appliances, as well as setting up a logistical center to serve the production, a service and maintenance center, and a permanent showroom.

(Source: “Uzbekistan Today” newspaper)


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