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Indian vendors seek local users

The Indian pavilion in hall nine is brimming with hi-tech firms itching to win business in the Middle East's booming information technology market.

With more than 50 companies from the sub-continent taking part in this year’s show, India’s Electronic and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ECSEPC) has upped its stand space by 20% and the 650 sqm Indian pavilion in hall nine is brimming with hi-tech firms itching to win business in the Middle East market. 20 new Indian IT firms, including software vendors such as Tally Solutions, Holool India and Navayuga Infotech, hardware players such as TVS Electronics and consultants like TCIL, are taking part in the region’s largest IT tradeshow for the first time.

Indian IT companies are increasingly interested in the local market due to its ongoing investment in information & communication technology (ICT). In fact, analysts at IDC believe the Middle East’s IT spend for 2004 will reach an estimated at US$4.2 billion and grow by 15% to top US$7.9 billion next year. According to Sooraj Dhawan, Gitex provides firms from the sub-continent with a good introduction to the end users that are driving this growth.

“Gitex offers tremendous business opportunities for Indian software, hardware and telecommunications companies, who are keen on doing business with the Middle East and African continent. With over 75,000 trade buyers from all over the world, Gitex offers unbeatable networking and client interfacing opportunities for Indian companies. This is the reason why Indian participation at Gitex continues to soar year after year,” he says.

“The brilliant business platform offered by Gitex to Indian companies has encouraged repeat participation from Indian ICT majors like Wipro, Moser Baer International, Wings Infonet, Zenith Computers, Exon Technologies, Bhansali Udyog, MWTI, Net4India, Matrix Infosystems, Newgen Software Technologies, and many more,” Dhawan adds.

A number of Indian IT firms from the Indian pavilion have already experienced some success in the Middle East market. For example, Wipro recently signed agreements with Gulf Insurance Company (GIC), Kuwait Foundation for Advancement of Sciences, Investment Dar and Future Communications Company in Kuwait for a range of services. These include application development, IT consultancy, infrastructure related services and awareness programmes surrounding Six Sigma.

“The Middle East is a critical component of our global expansion strategy, as it is a rapidly growing IT services market. We are committed to building a strong business base here,” says Suresh Vaswani, president of Wipro Infotech.

Indian technology companies have a reputation for technical excellence and low labour costs. As such, the county has seen major international vendors such as Microsoft, HP and IBM open development centres on the sub-continent. Most recently, Sybase, which can also be found in hall nine, opened a R&D facility in Pune to work on its database and data warehousing products.

According to Partha Iyengar, research director at Gartner Research in India, Sybase’s R&D investment once again confirms the sub-contintents growing attraction for global tech firms. “The new Sybase R&D facility in India confirms India’s growing importance in global IT,” he says.

In addition to attracting international vendors, India’s homegrown software sector has boomed — so much so that exports passed US$9.8 billion between 2002-2203. “The service models, commitment to quality and a focus on cost-effective solutions have made India the world’s preferred IT destination,” says Vaswani.

“To maintain cost effective solutions, companies the world over have shown interest in products and solutions available in India and the Middle East markets hold tremendous potential for Indian companies,” adds Kamal Vachani, regional director of ESC for the UAE & Middle East.

India has also become a hub for outsourced call centres and business process outsourcing (BPO). Many European and US-based firms choose to run their call centres from the sub-continent, and if the likes of Wipro are to be believed then Middle East end users will soon follow suit.

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