The trend for big businesses to set up IT hubs in India shows no sign of abating, with thousands more jobs being announced by global businesses.
As technologies such as artificial intelligence and biometrics come to the fore with the digital transformation of organisations across the world, new jobs are being created, and countries such as India are seen as prime locations for technology centres.
India has been a leading nation in the IT industry since the 1990s, when the likes of Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and Infosys began winning huge IT outsourcing contracts with global businesses, which were getting their first taste of offshore IT services. Today, Indian cities such as Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune are being chosen by global companies to open technology hubs as an extension of the business rather than a third-party service provider.
Take Bangalore, for example. According to research of 45 global cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Bangalore has the best environment for businesses to transform digitally. The same research also ranked Mumbai and New Delhi as among the top four locations.
The days are long gone when cities in India were seen merely as sources of low-cost labour. Today the world‚??s biggest companies are tapping into the country‚??s business and tech ecosystems, with Bangalore at the forefront.
The EIU research also found businesses have an appetite for new delivery locations, with 48% of businesses having considered relocating to access the right environment to support digital transformation.
Only last week, money transfer company Western Union opened a technology centre in Pune which employs 1,000 people. The centre will focus on technologies including robotics, machine learning and biometrics.
Meanwhile, South Korean tech giant Samsung recently said it would be hiring 1,000 engineers from top institutes for its three research and development facilities in India. Dipesh Shah, Samsung global senior vice-president, said: "The majority of recruits will be hired for domains such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, signal processing, computer vision, mobile security and biometrics, among others."
And Dutch software company Planon, which has had tech operations in India for a decade, is to expand its base innovation centre in Hyderabad. CEO Pierre Guelen said the centre, which currently employs 130 people, will be strengthened substantially in the next couple of years.
Guelen told Telangana Today: "Over the years, the Hyderabad operations, which started as a development centre, have started delivering services for global clients. Next year, the Hyderabad centre will be involved in the internet of things [IoT] and artificial intelligence. The manpower will increase from 130 now to close to 300 by next year. There is good talent in Hyderabad."
This will give Planon 10 times as many people at its Indian innovation centre than at its innovation centre in the Netherlands.
Standard Chartered Bank and German manufacturer ZF Group are other examples of companies that bolstered their Indian workforces last year, and there were many others.
Peter Schumacher, CEO at the Value Leadership Group, said this reflects the trend towards more investment in captive centres that has been happening for several years.
"At a recent event we held in Bangalore with 40 captive centre CEOs from across India, several US-based CIOs and global VCs confirmed that captives from the US and Europe have made significant progress in becoming more innovative and moving up the value curve," he said. "The Indian services and innovation ecosystem is stronger than it has ever been. Companies are taking a more strategic view toward their Indian operations."