By Philip H. de Leon
Russia’s Republic of Chuvashia is located 400 miles east of Moscow in the Volga-Vyatka region. The Republic has 1.36 million inhabitants, with 458,000 living in the capital, Cheboksary, and 123,800 in the second largest city, Novocheboksarsk. Cheboksary is situated between the cities of Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan. Many business opportunities exist in Cheboksary, some of which are already being taken advantage of by European companies.
Certain industrial sectors are well developed, such as engineering, metalworking, electric power generation, food processing, and chemicals. Chuvashia mostly exports raw materials, textiles, and consumer goods. Its main imports are organic and inorganic chemicals, electronic equipment, and electrical measuring instruments. Electronics and Machinery
The Electronics and Mechanics Plant ZEIM PLC
) is a major company specializing in manufacturing electronic devices and controlling equipment, such as electric actuating mechanisms, microprocessor controllers, water flow and heat meters, transducers, and controlling devices for automated process control systems, electric stop and control valves. ZEIM PLC, as a production and financial holding, employs several thousand people both directly and through its subsidiary and affiliated companies. Chemicals Khimprom
, one of the largest chemical plants in Russia producing consumer goods and goods for different branches of industry, is a key producer of cationic dyes and methylenechloride. In a 1999 Chuvash Republic investment guide, called Handshake, Khimprom said it was looking for investment to introduce polycrystal silicon production to satisfy the needs of the home electronic industry, to establish a facility to satisfy the needs of the technical rubber production and tire-making industries, and to introduce specialized production of pharmaceutical preparations and substances. Heavy Machinery
Anyone visiting Cheboksary can only be impressed by the size of the Promtraktor
plant, which produces tractors for agricultural and industrial purposes similar to Caterpillar’s equipment and machinery. Promtraktor also produces several versions of tracked and wheeled bulldozers, pipe layers, and mechanical lift trucks. Agribusiness
Chuvashia has huge potential in beer production as the region grows two-thirds of Russia’s hops. Cheboksary brewery Buket Chuvashii
is a major producer of beer, as well as of nonalcoholic beverages. The company is interested in creating a joint venture to install new equipment to increase beer output. The brewery Yantar has a similar goal. The Association of Hop Growers of Russia, founded in 1994 and based in Cheboksary, aims to increase production and processing of hops. Banking in Cheboksary
One of the largest banks in the region is the Chuvash branch of the Savings Bank of Russia, Chuvashsberbank
. Chuvashsberbank benefits from the widest network of branches available in Russia. Another major bank is Chuvashkreditprombank, which is an independent regional bank with branches throughout the Republic. It works closely with the Chuvash Republic Government. Both banks have correspondent relationships with major foreign banks. Travel Tips for Cheboksary
One can fly to Cheboksary from Moscow on Aeroflot three times a week (via Bykovo and Domodyedovo airports). There is a direct train from Moscow five times a week (via Kazansky train station).
Cheboksary is also about a two-hour drive from Nizhny Novgorod. A car with a driver is recommended for this trip and for around the city to save time. It can also be used to reach neighboring cities such as Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan, which also offer good investment opportunities.
There are no hotels meeting international standards in Chuvashia at this time. However, the Atal
(meaning Volga in Chuvash) hotel in Cheboksary is very nice, and its room prices are reasonable.
A unique tourist experience in Cheboksary is the Beer Museum
, which serves as a showcase for the Cheboksary brewery Buket Chuvashii. Beware that if you go for a beer tasting, the standard serving is 1.5 liters of beer. Local Assistance
The Republic has been proactive in compiling useful information for potential investors, some of which can be found on the Internet, including on the website of the Presidential Administration of the Chuvash Republic (www.chuvashia.com). The site contains local companies’ business proposals listed by industry sectors, although they are mostly in Russian.
A strategic approach to doing business in Russia’s regions is to closely interact with the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the local city administration, especially the Department of Foreign Relations (email@example.com). Both usually have close contacts with local companies and would be able to discuss your interests, study your business proposals, and arrange meetings for you with the right decisionmakers.
The CCI provides a wide range of services such as certification of goods, organization of events, and company matchmaking services. It also acts as a trade facilitator by compiling a database of “Commercial Proposals” consisting of business proposals submitted by local companies.
For contact information for Cheboksary companies and additional information on the Volga region of Russia, visit www.bisnis.doc.gov/bisnis/country/Volga.htm Philip de Leon
covers the Volga Region for BISNIS in Wash., DC.