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Six major tech firms to join Science Park Astana Business Campus

Kazakhstan's planned Science Park Astana Business Campus has always looked to be a highly ambitious project. The development received a major boost with the news that six high-profile technology firms - including General Electric, Samsung and Microsoft - would be among the tenants at the park, which is due to open in 2018. In this article, we break down the park's vital statistics, and the significant opportunities its construction presents to both the building sector and the country as a whole.

The background: Why Astana needs a science park

From Silicon Valley in the US - which grew from a research park founded at Stanford University - to the UK's Cambridge Science Park, hubs of science and tech businesses have proved to be hugely successful. They create an environment in which like-minded companies and individuals can work side by side, inspired by shared goals and interests.  Pierre Laffitte, the brains behind France's Sophia Antipolis Science Park, described this concept as "the cross-fertilisation of science and the creative arts".

The global total of science parks now stands at close to 600, with 218 in Western Europe, 170 in the US and 158 across Asia. Kazakhstan, however, has been relatively slow to capitalise on the opportunity, with just a handful of small innovation clusters opened across the country. As such, it makes sense to open one in Kazakhstan - not least because the park will be located at Nazarbayev University, the country's leading research institution. 

What's more, construction of the site will naturally provide a boost to the building sector, while its opening will also help to lessen Kazakhstan's economic reliance on the energy industry.

The scale of the Astana development

Some 500,000 sqm of land adjacent to Nazarbayev University has been set aside for the business campus, making it the largest facility of its kind in all of Central Asia. When finished, it will comprise more than 250,000 sqm of office space, laboratories and a research and development centre, with over 8,000 people expected to be employed at the site.


In total, an estimated 90 companies are set to move into the technology park once it opens. According to Kazakh news agency Today.kz, six have so far signed memorandums of understanding with the campus - namely, the global tech giants General Electric, Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett Packard, Samsung and Huawei.

Why the tech world has chosen Kazakhstan

Given its wealth of natural resources, Kazakhstan is no stranger to attracting overseas investment, which will help the country fulfil its high-tech plans. 

The country is seen as a relatively safe bet by foreign corporations and governments; it has the fastest growing economy in Central Asia, is the most stable of the region's five states, and is generally regarded as the most business-friendly. 

Its dedication to streamlining bureaucracy is helping to promote innovation - an ideal that has been adopted by Kazakhstan's autonomous Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools, which take in gifted adolescents in the hope of producing the country's future business, political and intellectual leaders. 

The profile of the companies that have already agreed to get involved in the technology park is a major positive for Kazakhstan, demonstrating that the vision to create Central Asia's largest tech hub is resonating with some of the world's most powerful organisations.

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