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

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