Press Releases: Sun shines on geeks: Software exports hit Rs 6,600-crore mark

BANGALORE : Even as the world reels under economic recession, the Silicon Plateau of India doesn’t seem to have done all that bad. In the nine-month period ending December 31, 2001 software exports from Bangalore touched Rs 6,600 crore -- up by 48 per cent, compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. Besides, one foreign company registered here every week.

If the Software Technology Parks of India - Bangalore (STPI-B) registered a growth rate of 67 per cent in dollar terms in 2000-2001, it might end the current year with a growth rate of around 40 to 43 per cent.

STPI-B Director B V Naidu told City Express here on Tuesday that, ‘‘even though we were all apprehensive about getting new companies, STPI-B has registered 78 new companies during this period and 39 out of these are foreign companies. The total investment committed by them is around Rs 355 crore, of which Rs 181 crore is from foreign firms. The industry has imported Rs 740 crore of capital goods into Bangalore.’’

According to him, Bangalore was able to sustain its growth primarily because of the right composition of large Indian/ Multinational firms and Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The impact of the slowdown is different for different sets of industry. ‘‘The large Indian firms, which have a stable global market base, are expected to grow by 25 per cent, even though onsite consulting got affected. Large firms are able to post 25 per cent growth due to sustainable relations they had with their parent company and also the willingness of the American Corporates to trust these relations and increase their outsourcing from them,’’ he added.

Cost-cutting also served as a blessing in disguise for many MNCs that are operating in Bangalore as it helped them expand base in India during 2001. Apart from a few telecom majors, many MNCs have expanded their base due to which exports from this segment grew by more than 40 per cent.

However, SMEs were the most affected category of the industry. Exports from this sector have grown at the rate of 20 per cent. Companies with more than 100 people with niche expertise have performed well though.,

‘‘Even though the overall expected software export growth of nearly 30 per cent is smaller than last year, it may be noted that achieving this growth with the base of $1.6 billion is commendable and the Bangalore industry is expected to touch $ 2 billion by the end of financial year 2001-2002. The lull in the global economy does not seem to have affected the IT action at Bangalore too much,’’ Naidu noted.

Karnataka IT Secretary Vivek Kulkarni said, ‘‘due to the recession, IT majors have stopped hiring graduates, but things are looking up in the last two months. Companies have started getting orders and more investment will be made in call centres, which will provide opportunity for BA/BSc graduates.’’

‘‘Even then, the companies will feel the general pressure on billing. It would take at least four to five months for the industry to return back to normalcy,’’ he added.