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32 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2018 by Andy Shaughnessy I-CONNECT007 If you're in the electronics industry, odds are that you use Skype every day to connect with people from around the world. Did you know Skype was founded in Estonia? Most Western- ers know very little about Estonia. A former Soviet Bloc country, Estonia has come a long way since restoring its independence in 1991. Electronics companies are thriving in this tiny EU member country, and capital city Tallinn has been called "Silicon Valley on the Baltic Sea." During productronica, I met with Arno Kolk, general manager of the Estonian Elec- tronics Industries Association, and we dis- cussed the explosion of new technology in this "Baltic Tiger" country? Andy Shaughnessy: Arno, nice to meet you here at productronica. Please begin with a little background about the association. Arno Kolk: Well, it's a voluntary association. It's quite typical, I would say. In this association, the companies work together to improve coop- eration and have closer ties with universities, which are receptive of the solutions, and then we increase the productivity of all the members. Shaughnessy: What is the manufacturing atmo- sphere like in Estonia, and what sort of indus- tries are found there? Kolk: In Estonia, the manufacturing industry plays a very important role. Our industry share of GDP is on par with the rest of Europe. I think most of Estonian exports, about 80% of exports, is manufacturing, and electronics is over 20% of Estonian exports. Being a small country, the local market is tiny, so we must export. It also means we must be competitive with exports. But then I guess your readers don't know that the Estonian industry goes back a century or more, and the electronics industry is as old as electronics. We had our first telephone factory back in 1907. Shaughnessy: I'll bet I'm not the only person who wouldn't have guessed that. And the

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