Thursday, April 26, 2007

Don’t mind, Bangalore is like this only

Don’t mind, Bangalore is like this only
Two overseas visitors reinforce the global tech community’s faith in the city

Financial Express

BANGALORE, APR 25: On a sultry Wednesday afternoon, sitting in the plush office of the $130-million Infinite Computer Solutions’ CEO at Bangalore’s International Tech Park, Australian state minister Timothy Holding is unfazed by talk of infrastructure woes plaguing the city.

“This is clearly a city that is growing extraordinarily quickly,” he said. “But then, Bangalore must be getting something right. For, the investments here are staggering,” Holding told FE, pointing to the huge campuses housing global IT giants like SAP and Indian majors like Tata Consultancy Services.

That may be so, but local frustration is also clearly palpable to Holding. “All of the development work puts incredible pressure on infrastructure, on roads, public transport, electricity. And, of course, the challenge for the government is to respond to the needs of the people and businesses,” the information & communication minister from the Australian state of Victoria said as he prepared to meet Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy.

Nearly 20 km away from the Tech Park, in a five-star hotel, Yahoo co-founder David Filo became slightly emotional about his company’s Bangalore connections. “I have mixed emotions as I stand here. Initially, when we were looking at basic outsourcing, we came here. We moved from that to engineering services and to development of products for markets globally. Now, we offer services across the board from Bangalore,” the Chief Yahoo said. The reason: “As we looked at emerging markets and the places where we would put our engineering, we realised that Bangalore made sense.” It is not just for Yahoo, Google or AOL (which will be launching its India portal on Thursday) that Bangalore has made sense.

Despite the city’s spiralling costs, increasing wages and rising property prices compounded with the infrastructure bottlenecks, multinational companies have opened their purse strings to increase their Bangalore presence. In the last one year, IT giants like IBM, Accenture, Intel, SAP and Cisco have together poured in over $1 billion in investment into Bangalore.

As Filo said: “We want to look at Bangalore as a centre of excellence for developing products for the global market. Folks here are going to be working on engineering services for the global markets.” Yahoo has currently 1,000 people working in its research & development section and on Thursday will open another facility with 1,600-seat capacity.

There was, though, one word of caution from Holding. “Of course, the pressure on infrastructure with development will increase quickly and it will always be a struggle to keep up.” But that’s unlikely to rob the Garden City of its technological prowess.


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