China wants Indian IT companies to open shop in a sprawling tech-city being built in one of its least developed regions in the southwest of the country, in a move that reflects the effort to strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries at state levels.
Cooperation between Indian states and Chinese provinces was in sharp focus during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China earlier this month.
The Guizhou province in southwest China, according to Chinese officials, is emerging as a base for cloud computing and big data -- and they want Indian software giants like Infosys, TCS and Wipro to be part of it.
Representatives from more than two dozen Indian companies, their Chinese counterparts, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and government officials got together on Tuesday at the Guian New Area (GNA) city to begin work on a blueprint for cooperation; the seminar was titled “China-India IT Industry Development Forum.”
One Indian company has already made the move: earlier this year India’s NIIT and GNA signed an MoU to offer programs in new-age IT, with a special focus on Big Data.
Under the agreement, NIIT will set up a centre in GNA to train 50,000 students in five years, “...to help realise China's vision to promote Guian as the national centre for the big data industry.”
“India is one of the leading countries in IT. There is lot of space to cooperate (between India and Chinese IT companies)....they complement each other. This could be the starting point for a new development,” Wang Jianping, vice-governor of Guizhou province, said at the gathering.
Speaking at the seminar, Namgya Khampa, economic counsellor at the Indian embassy in Beijing, said: “...IT has long been acknowledged as a particularly promising area for increasing cooperation. Both governments have been advocating stronger links between our IT companies. Certainly the presence of many of our leading IT companies here today is a positive sign on the cooperation to come”.
Top officials from Indian IT majors appeared enthusiastic but cautious.
The projected development of the city as an IT hub with a substantial Indian component, they said, was ambitious but more details needed to be chalked out.
“IT development in the GNA has the financial resources, governmental support and the required infrastructure. Big data prospects look bright, but we have to now look at the details,” Sujit Chatterjee, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) China-head, said.
Another company representative privately asked whether it would be a better idea for Chinese IT companies to cooperate with India – in India.
India has demographic and cost advantages, more than 54 percent of the population is under 25, and it has started to grow fast, the official pointed out.