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STPIs get new units, though fewer

Raja Simhan T.E.

CHENNAI, July 11

DESPITE the IT slowdown, new units continue to be come up in the Software Technology Park of India (STPI) across the country. However, the number of new units that have come up in some of the major cities during the first quarter of 2002-03 is less than in the corresponding quarter of last fiscal.

The new units specialise in various domains including IT-enabled services, business process outsourcing (BPO), CAD/CAM, Web application, smart cards, call centre and biotechnology.

In the first three months of the current fiscal, 18 new units (one foreign unit, two NRI units and 15 Indian units) came up at STPI, Hyderabad, compared to 38 (one foreign, 3 NRI and 34 Indian) during the first quarter of the last fiscal.

The total investment from the 18 units was about Rs 51.97 crore, while it was Rs 156.45 crore from 38 units, according to Col. M. Vijay Kumar, Director, STPI, Hyderabad. The domains included software development, ITES (CRM, back office and BPO) and biotechnology and Web Technologies, he said.

Some of the units approved by the Hyderabad STPI in the first quarter of 02-03 include Applabs Technologies (software development and telecom, switching and networking areas), Innoga Solutions, Swift Response, Surya Information Technology Group, Xpert Global Tech (CRM), Routers and Networks India (networking), Surana Infocom (telecom and switching), Globarena Web Technologies (Web services), Goldstone Teleservices (call centre), J.T.N. Bio Solutions, Ocimum Bio Solutions (India), Oxygen Networks (biotechnology) and Padmalaya Telefilms (multimedia and animation), he added.

In Mumbai STPI, the number of new units registered dropped to 10 during the first quarter of 2002-03, compared to 16 in the previous corresponding period.

As per the applications submitted to STPI at the time of registration, the proposed investment in a year or two could be approximately Rs 15.40 crore, said Mr P. Venugopal, Director, STPI, Mumbai. Companies such as Mastek-DC Offshore Development Co Pvt Ltd, Orient Net Ltd, Patni Computer Systems Ltd and Pipal Solutions India Ltd had been approved by the Mumbai STPI, said Mr Venugopal.

Chennai STPI was better than the two cities, with 20 new units registering in the first quarter of the current fiscal. However, it was still less than the 26 new units registered during the first quarter of last year.

"Considering the IT slowdown, the situation here is good so far," said Ms R. Rajalakshmi, Director, STPI, Chennai. The new companies included Cognizant Technology Solutions India (P) Ltd Unit 2 (for re-hosting, testing, Web-enabling, Net-based solutions, Euro, Y2K), Easi Technologies (ITES), Amada Soft (India) Pvt Ltd (CAD/CAM, Scandent Network (P) Ltd (BPO for finance, insurance and telecom) and Secure Micro Technologies (India) Pvt Ltd (product for smart cards), she added.

According to Col Vijay Kumar, though the domestic market was looking up in terms of e-initiatives, telemedicine, e-governance and language translation and distance education, and to some extent ERP and CRM, the market still was not encouraging.

"Last year, we had an export of Rs 2,855 crore and this year we have set a target of 30 - 35 per cent growth rate at Rs 4,000 crore, since large scale CRM and BPO would be operational soon. For example, ICICI Support Centre, the Satyam BPO operations and a couple of others are in the pipeline and we are quite hopeful that exports would be above our expectations, 40 per cent or more and in excess of the national averages," he said.

"I am of the opinion the Mumbai IT Export Industry will perform about the national industry export figure," Mr Venugopal says.

Chennai tops in rating

IN a combination of cost of operation and quality, Chennai not only scored over Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai but was also rated better than cities in the Asia-Pacific region, including Shenzen, Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur, according to an analysis done by Scope International, which handles the back office operations for Standard Chartered Bank.

In a qualitative score of 8, Chennai and Mumbai were almost equal, scoring just below 7, while New Delhi was even lower than the two cities.

However, taking the index annual operation costs (lowest cost location =100), Chennai was the lowest with 100, while Shenzhen was next with just below 120, followed by Shanghai (120), Bangalore (150), New Delhi (170) and Mumbai (230), says the analysis.

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