A leading importer of office equipment has begun producing the country's only made-in-Russia copy machines at a plant in the Samara region. MB, Russia's No. 3 supplier of copy machines after Canon and Xerox, is launching assembly of four models of copiers at an undisclosed location in the region. The company has invested $300,000 in renting and upgrading production facilities and intends to invest up to two percent of its annual turnover, which was just under $100 million in 2001, in developing the project. The company dos not expect significant cost reductions from local production in the short run, said Sergei Miroshkin, head of the marketing department at MB. "Local production does not always serve to reduce costs," he said. "For us, this is, first of all, a logical step in the company's development." Miroshkin added that, at the initial stages of the project implementation, the cost of locally produced equipment is likely to be only three to five percent lower than that of imported copy machines, which will have no significant impact on the retail price. But the company expects to benefit from the project within three years. "If, in two-and-a half-years, we'll be able to keep our market share and the market itself grows as predicted, we will achieve an 11-12 percent economy thanks to local production," said Ruslan Tafintsev, MB's executive director. The company said the choice of the Samara region as its production site is not final, and it is considering moving its production line near Togliatti to another location, where assembly could be developed on a larger scale. By 2003, MB intends to produce up to 2,000 copy machines a month locally, the Russia Journal wrote.