News > Pan-Armenian News > Tony Moroyan: Armenia has an absolutely remarkable high-tech future
Tony Moroyan transitted via Dubai in August 2009. Azad-Hye met him in the Festival City and had the following interview.
Can you tell us a about the concept of Armtech?
Let me start by saying that I’ve been involved with Armenia since 1991. I was invited there to help the government come up with a plan to revive the economy after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The critical question at the time was, what are the building blocks to create Armenian economy. High-tech industry given precedence, because it was seen as the key to Armenia’s survival and its differentiation in the region.
Clearly, the world is going towards polarization between rich and poor countries. High-tech is set to be the key to Armenia’s survival. Even during Soviet times, Armenia was differentiated because of its high-tech and not its agriculture. It was famous for its sophisticated research centers and universities.
In the first years of independence I was asked to make an assessment of the high-tech situation in Armenia compared to the West. The people in charge in Armenia did not know where they stood in high-tech domain. I had the chance to see the situation also in Russia. They were one and a half generation behind and commercially they were way behind, unable to mass produce. This was the Soviet Union of which Armenia was a small picture. Yet, Armenia was one of the top centers of research at that time, they had computer industry, the foremost Soviet Union astrophysics lab. We can say the situation in Armenia was comparatively in progressive and could serve as a promising start.
And after all these years, where does Armenia stand now and how can you rank Armenia now from the high-tech perspective?
The fact is that Armenia is not in a position to compete with the world with the natural resources or other sectors like manufacturing etc. When you look thoroughly, the core is high-tech, be that banking, nuclear energy etc., what we did in Armenia was to start with small steps, with minor projects and then we moved on to the big projects and hence afterwards to the critical projects.
In some domains, we can rank Armenia now in parallel to India and Silicon Valley - especially regarding electronic design automation; Armenia is remarkable in designing cell-phone chips. As it needs extremely sophisticated software knowledge, and since Armenia has the qualified human resources and the expertise to work and excel in this field, it makes sense to share cutting edge technology and make it grow from Armenia.
The most sophisticated high tech company involved in these projects is Synopsis Inc based in the Silicon Valley and it has a very advanced branch in Armenia. I’m happy that I was well known and amply connected in the industry, so I was in a position to introduce the Armenian potential to this company, and now it is the largest public company that operates in high-tech in Armenia .
Is it easy to invest in technology Armenia legislation wise?
That’s exactly what Arm-tech is doing. In Armenia, you can now establish a company in short period of time (say one week). We are encouraging the authorities there to adapt the Western styles, copyright laws, patents… so everything is legal and there’s nothing to worry about. The beauty of high-tech is that it does not need lots of resources; it needs a good human capital. They realized in Armenia that high-tech is strategic choice.
ArmTech is doing several things. First, it is connecting all Armenian high-tech workers from all around the world. High-tech includes energy, bio-tech, bio-med, software, media, communication and of course information technology, which is the core. We want to connect everyone who is involved in this area. We also take care of the legal stuff, like the contracts, agreements, investment management, that feed the high-tech model. You cannot invest unless you can predict. If a country is not predictable, it will not attract investments.
So first, after the correct worldwide networking of the Armenians, we want to improve the above-mentioned domains. We want to improve all the sectors. The next step will be to get together everyone who is interested to exchange on valuable business opportunities and high tech solutions and not only in Armenia or with Armenians. Third is to have a platform, to help the government to put the right legislation and pin point to the recommendations. In November 5-8 2009 (see ArmTech Congress announcement below), we will host representatives from the Government, the academia and the industry (the three cores of high-tech development) together in the shape of powerful business forum.
How did the high-tech working environment in Armenia develop?
The government needed financial resources to enhance the high-tech industry. If you look back to 1991, Universities were very poor. First thing we did was to enhance the Universities to have good graduates; 10 – 15 million dollar worth of software was donnated to the popular Universities at the time. Today all the workers involved in this industry are Armenian and are all well paid, especially compared to the community standards. All this influences Armenia in a positive way.
What were or still are the difficulties in Armenia?
The situation was bad from 1991 to 2000, but then it gradually started to change and now there are many companies from outside Armenia who have set up operations there. One of the things we are keen to enhance more is to facilitate and strengthen the middle class, well-educated and diverse. We succeeded help bringing the government, the academia and the industry together, from Armenia and outside Armenia.
What we are doing now, is to add a third leg to Yerevan and Silicon Valley, which is Moscow. Another leg could be Paris, yet another one could be the United Arab Emirates. Indeed, the UAE is important for Armenia, since it’s the centre of the Middle East. It is becoming the heart for high-tech.
Armenia is aspiring to become the centre of the high-tech in the region and we are trying to make that connecting bridge between Yerevan and Silicon Valley. From our base in the Silicon Valley (California), we are connecting Yerevan to the Diaspora, this is something that no other company has done before. Silicon Valley is very advanced in this domain, with the headquarters of many corporations research and development centers based there.
So you can imagine what a huge step forward we can move when we bring together every single Armenian interested in this domain from every city in the Diaspora.
There is still a lot to go ahead. The main element is the social networking website. Armenia has an absolutely remarkable high-tech future. We will make that happen and become one of the advanced in this sector on worldwide scale.
Biography of Tony Moroyan
Interview transcribed by Nanor Mikayelian
Third Global Armenian High Tech Industry Conference
Armenia's global high-tech industry business and conference
November 5-8, 2009, at the Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, California
Connect with Armenia’s Emerging High-Tech Industry
Explore Investment Opportunities
The Republic of Armenian officially adopted ArmTech Congress as its global high-tech industry business conference and platform.
ArmTech Congress is designed to further the success of Armenia’s high-tech industry, a priority in the country’s progressive economic development program. ArmTech Congress ’09 strengthens the cooperation and collaboration among the high-tech and business communities in Armenia and Diaspora including, USA, Canada, Western Europe, S. America, Russia and Middle East, and examines the challenges and opportunities for the high-tech industry in a dynamic global economy.
Most importantly, ArmTech Congress ’09 establishes a platform that assists Armenia’s government, companies, academia and related organizations to prepare a global environment supportive of this strategic industry in general, and showcases Armenia as a viable, emerging high-tech destination.
ArmTech Congress ’09 takes place in the heart of Silicon Valley, highlighting the synergy and connections between the region that is technology’s acknowledged world leader and Armenia’s drive to become a top high-tech destination.
The four-day conference program includes session tracks addressing critical high-tech industry and business topics, and renowned keynote speakers including:
The Honorable Tigran Sargsyan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia
The Honorable Nerses Yeritsyan, Minister of Economy of RA
Joe Simitian, California State Senator
Dr. Chi-Foon Chan, President and chief Operating Officer of Synopsys Inc.
Daniel Mahoney, President & CEO, Renesas Technology America
In addition to plenary sessions, the conference features parallel track sessions: All supporters of the Republic of Armenia’s passion to become a high-tech destination:
- Software Industry & Services
- High-tech business professionals
- Telecommunications & Internet
- Foreign investors
- Renewable & Green Energy
- Venture capitalists
- Microelectronics Design & Test
- Government agencies and NGOs
- Investment Projects
- International trade & outsourcing executives
- Higher Education & Research
- Digital Media
- Engineering/Instrumentation Design
- Advanced Materials
- Professional Networking
How Can You Benefit from the Conference?
- Network with global high-tech leaders & innovators
- Connect with peers from around the world
- Learn from conference tracks & social events ·
- Enjoy Armenian culture and food
- Experience the ArmTech awards program
Visit the website: www.armtechcongress.com
PRESENTATION (PDF format, 21 pages)