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IT honchos on Mission China

Bangalore, Sept. 12: The who’s who of India’s infotech industry, led by Nasscom chairman S. Ramadorai, will head for China on September 21 to forge partnerships and give shape to Premier Wen Jiabao’s vision of a global tech superpower.

Several heads of Indian IT companies will discuss with CEOs of Chinese firms ' during their weeklong visit to Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen ' how the Asian giants could complement each other even as they race for a share of the global IT market.

“We will have lots of CEOs out in China as part of our effort to understand the Chinese IT industry,” said Nasscom president Kiran Karnik.

Several software companies are keen to set up development centres in China to cater to the domestic market and those in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, according to industry sources. Besides, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Technologies Ltd, Wipro Ltd and Satyam Computer Services Ltd plan to expand their presence.

TCS plans to increase the employee strength from 175 now to 2,500 in three years, while Infosys will invest $65 million over the next five years to ramp up the headcount from 250 to 6,000.

Wipro has 100 software professionals at a development centre near Shanghai, but has kept its expansion plan under wraps. Satyam, which has facilities in Dalian and Shanghai, proposes to have an employee strength of 3,000 by 2007 against 300 on its rolls this year.

Indian software firms could complement China’s expertise in manufacturing, embedded systems and design of chips to roll out gadgets for the IT sector and consumer durables worldwide, the sources said. They could, for instance, write programmes for personal computers manufactured by Menovo, which recently acquired IBM in China, they said.

Competition between the IT firms of the two countries would not harm the proposed joint ventures, the sources said. “Our projections show that there is sufficient space for (all) these firms. India accounts for 3 per cent of the (global) IT market. We are certain that we will stay ahead (of China) as the market grows.”

A seminar in Bangalore on September 16 will explore opportunities for cooperation in software as a precursor to the tour of China.

Li Yunachao, the party secretary of Jiangsu province, which contributes more than 11 per cent of China’s GDP and is home to 2,010 research institutes and 2.71 million scientists, engineers and technicians, will lead a 50-member delegation to the seminar.

“The software industry in Jiangsu has witnessed rapid progress since 2000, with an annual increase of over 50 per cent in terms of new firms. So Nasscom will partner with its information industry department in organising the seminar, India-China Software Cooperation: The Bangalore-Jiangsu Link,” a source said.

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