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Accepted Paper:

Kazakhstan's Hardware Production between Russia, the US and China  
Oyuna Baldakova (King's College London)


The article presents an exploration of Kazakhstan's electronic hardware industry, examining its historical roots, current state, and global dependencies. Drawing from the official Kazakhstani registers of electronics industry companies from 2019 to 2022, open data from governmental and individual companies’ websites, media reports, and fieldwork interviews with four Kazakhstani hardware-producing firms, the study delves into the evolution and current state of the sector. Currently, the electronics sector of Kazakhstan is highly dependent on imported components. Our analysis shows that technologies and components from China hold a significant share in Kazakhstan’s electronics, alongside two other major powers - Russia and the USA.

Historically, Soviet-era enterprises were concentrated in core regions like Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Despite the predominantly agrarian nature of the Kazakh SSR's economy, a few companies, including the "State Union Plant," APTP "Granit," and "Gidropribor," persevered. Post-USSR collapse, state support and a focus on high-tech, small-scale orders enabled some enterprises to survive. Presently, Kazakhstan hosts around 80 electronic product manufacturing enterprises, employing over 2,000 workers. The electronics industry is strategically vital for the country, ensuring technological sovereignty and fostering high-tech development, with a 2022 production volume reaching 63.4 billion tenge or 141 million dollars.

The chapter explores interconnected relationships between Kazakhstani hardware producers and Chinese counterparts, exemplified by Sergek's collaboration with Hikvision and Dahua, Eltex's links to both Russia and China, and RTEL's partnership with Hytera. Cuba's unique trajectory, benefiting from Russian immigrants post-war, underscores industry adaptability. Despite dependence on Chinese components, the article highlights the growing innovation capabilities through in-country R&D activities.

Panel T16POL
Digital China and Central Asia
  Session 1 Saturday 8 June, 2024, -