GS Group is a multi-industry holding company that operates in the telecommunication market and other innovative markets, actively developing its own technologies. It is a Russian leading developer and integrator of complex solutions for digital television. The company is commonly known for its business activities in the field of microelectronics and consumer electronics full-cycle production, nanotechnology and deep wood processing. Business diversification based on in-house high technologies is one of the core development principles GS Group.
History and turning points
GS Group has been operating for over 25 years. All this time, a key competence of the company was the development and integration of technology solutions for digital TV. Significant progress in this area allowed the holding to start in-depth development of adjacent areas. In 1995, the company became one of the suppliers of a full range of equipment for TV companies in Eastern Europe and a major integrator known under the General Satellite Corporation brand name. In 1999, the corporation has allocated engineering division in a separate structural unit. Its first significant success came from the opening of its own assembly line of subscriber set-top boxes under the Humax brand. In 2002 a network of foreign trade offices was created in 6 European countries: Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, the Czech Republic and Turkey. The corporation acquired the status of a global distributor and integrator of satellite equipment with the largest coverage area. In 2003, the engineering department has developed the first set-top boxes with its own in-house software for satellite, terrestrial and cable television viewing. Production was expanded to the facilities in Shenzhen (China). In 2005, the corporation has become the main technical partner for the leading Russian satellite broadcasting operator, Tricolor TV. In 2008, the company launched investment project in the Kaliningrad region (Russia) creating largest private innovative cluster in Eastern Europe called Technopolis GS. On its territory, a powerful manufacturing base was created in the field of microelectronics, electronics and nanotechnology, including one of Europe’s leading microelectronics manufacturing, packaging and testing company GS Nanotech and the largest manufacturing of digital satellite set-top boxes in Eastern Europe – Digital Television Systems. GS Group also built social and cultural infrastructure and keeps on forming a creative environment for the life of the cluster’s specialists. In 2013, the General Satellite Corporation announced the foundation of a multi-industry holding company. All the business areas were combined under the new international brand GS Group. The new holding structure featured consumer electronics manufacturing under the General Satellite brand, a group of high-tech industries in the field of microelectronics and nanotechnologies within the Technopolis GS innovative cluster. In 2015, GS Group successfully continued to diversify its business and entered new markets. In Ulyanovsk, the first Russia’s production plant for wood-plastic composites with application of solid plastic, GS Composite, was opened. The Dedovichi production facility complex for deep wood processing has been launched in the Pskov region, including the Sudoma sawmill, which produces impregnated board, thermo-treated board and planed board. In 2016, GS Group introduced GS A230, the first Russian digital TV set-top box to support Ultra HD (4K) broadcasting. GS Gamekit, the first Russian game console with HD set-top box functionality also entered the market. In 2017 the holding company has successfully implemented the investment project of creating RealVU, the first satellite Pay TV operator in Bangladesh.
Key activities and flagship products
GS Group is Russia’s leading developer and provider of integrated technology solutions for digital TV. The company produces high-tech products under the General Satellite brand on its own innovative cluster Technopolis GS capacities in Kaliningrad region. Technological solutions development and production of the holding are used by the largest Russian digital television operator Tricolor TV, as well as represent the basis of broadcasting projects in Cambodia and Bangladesh. Technopolis GS cluster demonstrates the impressive potential for placement of contract orders for the production of consumer electronics of any level of complexity: highly qualified specialists, own R&D center, advanced industrial equipment, strong production base for the mass production, effective quality management techniques and well-considered logistics. Contract manufacturing in Technopolis GS include consumer, automotive, industrial electronics, telecommunication systems, measurement systems. For more than two years, GS Group produces the first Russian microprocessors for consumer electronics under the SiP (System-in-package) technology. The holding has developed and put into mass production more than 30 types of set-top boxes, along with microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for inertial measurement units. In addition, GS Group developed first Russian enterprise-class SSDs (solid-state drives) with a prototype to be released in 2017. Today, Technopolis GS is mastering the production of metering devices, electronic modules for the sensors and control units, modems, routers, dongles, electronic bracelets, sensors.
To build a dynamic and competitive company it is important to have experienced employees. The holding employs more than 3,500 people. To ensure the functioning of the innovative Technopolis GS cluster there were about 2 000 jobs created. Over the years, a comprehensive educational program is a strategic priority of GS Group. The program is aimed at promoting technical education among schoolchildren, students and young professionals and forming the competences demanded in the high-tech fields. The practice of direct participation of future employers in such complex projects is widely used around the world. In order to ensure its technological leadership GS Group has created its own full-cycle production chains in the field of consumer electronics. The enterprises in the innovative Technopolis GS cluster carry out the full cycle of production of digital set-top boxes under the General Satellite brand, from the designing the solutions to the packaging of finished products. This scheme allows independently controlling and developing the product line of subscriber equipment. GS Group has proved that the goods fully produced in Russia can compete with foreign analogues in terms of quality and functionality. At its own production facilities, the company annually produces more than 2.5 million digital set-top boxes, which is around 2% of global amount of similar products. The holding makes new technologies accessible to mass audience, and provides access to the most modern TV standards. Focusing on global market trends, GS Group develops concepts of multiscreen, mobile, cross-platform and interactive television. In-house innovative solutions allow involving an increasing number of viewers in HDTV viewing. Moreover, in 2016, GS Group became the first company in the Russian market to offer STB for TV viewing in Ultra HD (4K) format.
New investments and further development
The main product for export is company’s own technology in the field of broadcasting. Considerable expertise in the development and project management of the national digital television allowed GS Group successfully exporting its own hardware and software solutions abroad. Technological solutions of the company are used in broadcasting projects in Russia, Cambodia and Bangladesh. In the beginning of 2017 GS Group started to implement the first project in Russia to develop and mass-produce enterprise-class SSDs (solid-state drives), which are non-mechanical storage devices based on memory chips with master controller. SSD prototype was presented to potential customers in the beginning of 2017, and it’s planned to launch mass production in the second half of the year. Full production will be carried out in Russia. While the most promising directions of IoT development in the world are supposed to be “smart” technologies and Smart city, “smart” agriculture, “smart” devices and equipment for “smart home” – GS Group carefully analyzes this market. Holding has already created a number of innovative technological solutions that are successfully implemented in consumer electronic devices in Russia and abroad. Among the holding’s developments are secure microchips and signal coding system that can be applied to protect data within the “smart home”, “smart city” and “smart grid electricity” from hacker attacks. Holding continues to develop Technopolis GS cluster as the “city of the future”, the center of attraction of inventive people, creating high-quality creative atmosphere, convenient infrastructure and favorable environment for self-realization. In particular, by 2020 the company intends to launch Russia’s first University Campus in the area of Engineering and Technological Sciences that will bring together business and the leading specialized Russian universities to train future engineers. In addition, construction materials produced at the Sudoma sawmill are known throughout the world: 90% of products are exported to European countries. As the flagship of the Russian telecommunications industry, GS Group makes advanced developments in the field of television accessible to a mass audience, promoting Russian science and technology, developing business in new high-tech directions. The company is actively promoting social prosperity and progress, it is a reliable supplier of innovative solutions for Russian and foreign partners, offering high-quality products for everyday life.