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September 18, 1995

MOSCOWGRAMS

By CBR Staff Writer

Ending two decades in which Marubeni Co was the sole distributer of Canon Inc products in Russia, Canon has now opened its own office in Moscow which will report to Canon Finland, which now has responsibility for all of markets in the former Soviet Union: with the exception of stock that Marubeni still holds, product is now delivered from a warehouse in Finland; no official partners have been announced as yet; Marubeni remains a Canon dealer.

Alcatel NV’s Russian turnover in 1994 was $100m: the firm has two joint ventures in Russia and is a co-founder of several other telecommunication enterprises; the St Petersburg-based LenBell joint venture, formed by Alcatel’s Belgian subsidiary Alcatel Bell, Belgian company Fonds Nieuw NV, Norwegian firm Nordex A/S, and two Russian firms, A/O Telecom and NIIETU, is involved in producing and equipment for in-city and international networks.

Yet another company that’s keen to get in on the boom in the market for personal computers in Russia is Unisys Corp, which has signed up CompuLink as a distributor and is close to agreements with assembly companies Aquarius Systems and Sunrise: the Russian companies said their motivation in entering the deals is that they would like to start winning systems integration business and Unisys has some brand recognition in the Russian banking community.

A presidential decree has called for an independent commission to be established in Belarus that would have control over the use of radio frequencies in the republic: at present, this control is the responsibility of a commission created by the of Communications; the idea is very similar to plans announced in Russia in March, and it will affect cellular communications and paging services.

After Samsung Electronics Co bought a large chunk of the US personal computer maker AST Research Incearlier this year (CI No 2,613) an intriguing question for many distributors in Moscow was whether Samsung’s substantial Russian infrastructure might be exploited to market the US company’s personal computers: the idea sounded good, what with AST’s brand name and well-respected personal computers combined with Samsung’s money, service and distribution infrastructure and on-the-ground presence in Russia; according to AST Research Europe regional sales manager, Stephen Blakley, the idea has not even been mooted at AST, so don’t look for anything like this happening in the near future – if at all.

Russian Telecommunication Network, confusingly acronymed RTS, has won an investment auction giving it the right to buy 22% of A/O Moskovskij Mezhdugorodnyj i Mezhdunarodnyj Telefon company, MMT, the Moscow operator of inter-city and international communication services at a price of $105.8m: this right is exercised providing RTS commits to invest not less than $50m in development of communications services in the city; RTS is a 100% Russian company and operates the Rosnet telecommunication network.

Moscow-based software firm Diasoft and IBM Corp have signed an agreement under which the Muscovite will offer its banking applications on the R/6000s.

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