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Nanotechnology competition: India vs. Singapore

Here’s a nanotech news item from the Financial Express (India) that shows the challenge that developing countries such as India face in their efforts to leapfrog over intermediate levels of technology directly to operating right at the cutting edge:

Indian nanotech firm to move to Singapore

Singapore, November 1: Bangalore-based nanotechnology firm Qtech Nanosystems has decided to transfer its operations as it seeks to utilise the city-state’s R&D infrastructure, strong intellectual property protection regime and venture capitalist funds.

The technology team of the company, which was established in 2004, will shortly relocate to Singapore to manage its Research and Development operations, an Economic Development Board spokesperson said today at the ongoing four-day Global Entropolis, Singapore, 2006.

Qtech is a nanotechnology R&D start-up company that allows mechanical systems to position devices and tools accurately in the nanometre range.

The company, which won an award from India’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for its work in nanotechnology, has plans to penetrate various markets like defence and semiconductors.

Besides Qtech, two other nanotechnology companies–Atomistix Asia Pacific from Denmark and Quantum Precision Instruments Asia, Australia–have shown interest to develop and expand their business in Singapore.

And these aren’t the only nanotech firms considering locating in Singapore, which is very serious about being a leader in the field and can offer attractive terms to companies it wishes to lure. It’s hard to blame the company for doing what makes business sense, and hard to blame Singapore for doing what they see as being in the country’s best interest, but it seems a shame that India should lose out.

This isn’t just any nanotech startup: they have a molecular gear graphic on their homepage, indicating some vision. —Christine

6 Responses to “Nanotechnology competition: India vs. Singapore”

  1. Brian Says:

    Why is it a shame india should lose out compared to Singapore? shouldn’t it be a shame that companies are not relocating to the US?

  2. Christine Peterson Says:

    Certainly we want the U.S. to continue its strong position in nanotech, but I’m not sure that we need to poach home-grown Indian companies… —Christine

  3. ERabani Says:

    IMHO the shame is that we’ve yet to outgrow nationalism.

    As a vaguely related tangent, I just heard something on the BBC…an IDF artillery commander describing the procedure for firing cluster bomb armed rockets at Lebanon. Although there were human soldiers in the firing loop, their involvement was transfering a coordinate file from a message to a control computer and clicking execute. The coordinates derived from detections of Kyatusha launches. In other words, if this account is accurate, there was no human judgement in the firing loop. Frankly, this is much more alarming than the fact that cluster-bombs were used. Although this shows (what we knew) that mnt is unnecessary to the full automation of warfare, it also shows that we are late in dealing with this issue, which will likely become more widespread as automation technology in general and mnt in particular find uses in the conduct of warfare.

  4. Dennis Says:

    Is ‘poaching’ somehow wrong? Should countries not try to attract foreign firms? This is strange ethics…

  5. Christine Peterson Says:

    It’s good that countries compete to attract firms. It’s a shame that India is not succeeding at this as well as it might. On the bright side, it’s visible losses such as this that will encourage India to continue to improve its business climate. –Christine

  6. Harikrishnan.J Says:

    You can’t really blame with the kind of Nanotech support system India has, esp. technical know-how & institutions to support Nanotech start-ups. But over a longer time-frame I am confident that India will pick-up (due to it’s huge technical brainpower which i feel is better than the other Asian giant China) in Nanotechnology R&D and really Nanotech being “Bangalored” will be the norm than it being “Singapored” or “Shanghaied”

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