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1/19/2007
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HP Christens Russian Research Lab

HP booked about $1.4 billion in sales in Russia last year, about 10% of Russia's total market for IT products. HP's sales there are growing nearly 24% a year.

Hewlett-Packard said Monday it's opened a new computer-science research lab in St. Petersburg, Russia, as the company tries to tap further into math and science talent there, and develop technologies that can serve Russia's booming oil and gas markets and other sectors.

HP Labs director Dick Lampman, other HP executives, and more than 20 Russian scientists are scheduled to hold a news conference in St. Petersburg on Monday to christen the research lab, the company's seventh. Hewlett-Packard, which this year passed IBM to become the world's largest supplier of IT, has been expanding its research presence into emerging economies -- the company opened a lab in Bangalore, India, in 2002 and in Beijing in 2005. The St. Petersburg lab could eventually employ as many as two dozen computer scientists and other researchers, says Beth Keer, a director in HP Labs.

"This is quite a vote for Russia," says Keer, a 23-year HP veteran who will serve as lab director and lead the search for an eventual Russian director who will report to her. The company hopes to hire "senior scientific talent" and forge research partnerships with universities and research institutes in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Keer says. Russia's universities are turning out large numbers of graduates trained in math and science, and the country has produced a large percentage of recent winners of the Nobel Prize and mathematics' Fields Medal "We're going into full hire mode," she adds.

HP, which recorded $91.7 billion in revenue last year, booked about $1.4 billion in sales in Russia, according to market researcher IDC. That represents about 10% of Russia's total market for IT products. HP's sales there are growing nearly 24% a year, and the company has nearly 1,000 employees in Russia to sell to the country's oil and gas exploration companies and other industries.

Researchers at the St. Petersburg lab will work on data analysis problems that can help oil and gas companies locate new wells, and telecom companies understand the behavior of consumer markets, according to Keer.

HP Labs director Lampman is slated to retire this year after 35 years with HP. The company is conducting a search for his replacement.

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