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US-based Ciena to make India top hub for R&D

The Nasdaq-listed company decides to make India its largest research and development hub and aims to recruit 350 professionals, reports M Rajendran.
Hindustan Times | By M Rajendran, M Rajendran
UPDATED ON JUL 20, 2007 02:24 AM IST

US-based Ciena Corporation, a Nasdaq-listed company that makes equipment to speed up traffic on fibre-optic networks, has decided to make India its largest research and development hub, and aims to recruit 350 professionals by March next year, company officials said on Thursday.

The plan by Ciena, which has more than $ 1.0 billion in sales, underlines India becoming a hotspot for telecom companies. Telecom equipment leaders including Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola already have a significant R&D presence in India.

Speaking to Hindustan Times Neeraj Gulati, managing director of Ciena's Indian unit, said: “Worldwide we have six R&D centres — four in the US and one each in Canada and India. The total number of professionals in the five centres excluding India is 500 while in India alone it would now be 350.”

However, Gulati is little concerned with an emerging scarcity of high-tech talent in India, which he feels is a huge bottleneck.

“Currently we are hiring people with 5 to 10 years of experience who have graduated from well known institutes and specialising on solutions and design. But, there is a shortage good manpower. It could be a worrying factor in the long run,” he said.

Growing demand for value-added services on telecom services is putting pressure on network operators to improve multi-location services.

“We are looking at India as the next platform for innovation,” Gulati said. Ciena currently offers services to carriers like BT, AT&T and France Telecom but not to operators in India.

“India is definitely an attractive market,” Gulati said.

Industry sources said that the company is already offering services to VSNL and Reliance in India, by virtue of their takeover of fibre-optic operator firms Tyco and Flag respectively.

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