Sunday, October 30, 2005

Bangalore turns out to be a lacklustre affair

Bangalore turns out to be a lacklustre affair

The Hindu

Organisers blame rain, traffic snarls for poor show

# Fewer business visitors, deals struck this year
# Business visitors ranged between 10,000 and 12,000
# However, attendance of foreign delegates gladdens organisers
# 250 foreign delegates and 100 NRIs showed up

Bangalore: The eighth edition of the annual mega information technology event, Bangalore, which concluded here on Saturday, will go down in history as the most lacklustre of all so far.

In terms of the number of business visitors and the deals struck, this year's event was just a shadow of what it used to be in earlier years. The organisers — the State Government and the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) — are quick to blame the rain and the traffic snarls for the poor show.

"We hade to face huge natural occurrences during the event — the unprecedented rain during the last few days, flooding and disruption in traffic. The Palace Grounds, the main venue for the event, was slushy. The show was also not made easy by the events that took place prior to," said M.K. Shankaralinge Gowda, Secretary, Information Technology and Biotechnology, Karnataka, in a veiled reference to the spat between the Government and the IT industry over lack of infrastructure in Bangalore.

Dip in numbers

STPI Director in charge of Bangalore, B.V. Naidu, said the number of business visitors to the event had dipped this year compared to previous years. "This year the number of business visitors was in the range of 10,000 to 12,000. Last year, it was more. Heavy rain prevented people from coming to the event," he noted.

Despite this, the organisers said that the "unprecedented number of foreign delegates" to this year's event made it a "memorable one."

"In the past, the event did not attract international participation like it did this year. There were around 250 foreign delegates and about 100 NRIs who attended the event this year," he said. According to Mr. Gowda, the level of interest shown in Bangalore can be gauged from the fact that the 68-member contingent that came from Barcelona in Spain comprised mainly entrepreneurs. Bavaria also tested the waters this time and said that it would like to "come in a big way next year."

Fewer deals struck

The number of deals struck between domestic and foreign firms has also been reduced to a trickle.

But Mr. Naidu said it was "business as usual" in the stalls put up at the venue.

"About 80 to 90 per cent of the persons whom we met have given a positive indication of the business prospects that was generated out of the event," Mr. Naidu said.

Yet another feature of the event was the "amazing interest" shown by companies in starting operations in the secondary cities such as Mangalore, Mysore, Hubli and Gulbarga, among others.

Reinforcing the point that Bangalore continues to be the leader in attracting IT investments into India, Mr. Gowda said that Cisco Systems announced an investment of $800 million for setting up an R&D campus on 14 acres in Bangalore during the visit of its President and Chief Executive Officer, John Chambers, on October 21.


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