MOSCOW (Reuters) - Telecom gear maker Nokia Siemens Networks is set to become the latest foreign company to pledge its support to the Kremlin's new flagship technology hub near Moscow, the head of the hub said on Thursday.
Skolkovo, launched earlier this year as part of President Dmitry Medvedev's drive to modernize the energy-dependent economy, aims to give state backing to companies to help them develop innovative products.
Several global firms have since accepted invitations to take part in the project, which is focused on five priority sectors -- energy, IT, telecoms, biotech, and nuclear technologies.
"By the end of the year we plan to sign an agreement with a joint venture of Nokia and Siemens which has long been interested in a partnership with us," Viktor Vekselberg, an oil and mining tycoon who heads the Skolkovo foundation, which is overseeing the hub's construction, said.
Vekselberg was speaking at a news conference dedicated to the signing of a cooperation agreement with Intel Corp under which participants of the Skolkovo project can access Intel Capital's venture financing and its research centers.
"Up to now we have had a track record of investing very aggressively," said Christian Morales, Intel vice president and general manager of Intel Europe, Middle East and Africa.
"From the Intel Capital standpoint, we have not been risk-averse, until now we have been investing in a lot of new initiatives and we are looking forward to the Skolkovo initiative to scale this level of investments," he said.
Morales said that Intel did not have "budget limitations" for the Skolkovo projects.
According to Kamil Isayev, R&D CEO of Intel Russia, Intel has invested around $100 million in Russia annually in recent years.
Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter