Monday, October 01, 2007

India remains outsourcing favourite, says survey

India remains the favoured technology outsourcing destination, an industry report said Sunday, amid concerns a rising rupee and soaring wages would blunt the country's competitive edge.

A study by industry publication Global Services and investment advisory firm Tholons put the Indian cities of Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune at the top of a list of 15 emerging outsourcing destinations for global companies.

Kolkata at number five and Chandigarh at number nine were the other two Indian locations on the list, which contained three Chinese and two Vietnamese cities as well.

The three hot cities for outsourcing from China were Shanghai at number eight, Beijing at 10 and Shenzhen at 13. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi were put at number six and number 12.

Cebu in the Philippines came in at number four, the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo at seven, Cairo at 11, Buenos Aires at 14 and Sao Paulo at 15, the study's sponsors said in a statement released in Bangalore.

The list is based on criteria such as scale and quality of workforce, financial infrastructure, risk environment and quality of life.

But it does not include established outsourcing locations such as Bangalore, the New Delhi capital region, Manila, Mumbai and Dublin that have had a decade's headstart.

Costs are surging in the prime cities in India, which has earned a reputation as the world's back office, as property values and rentals rise and wages increase at an annual pace of more than 15 percent amid a shortage of skilled employees.

Indian outsourcing firms are also feeling the pinch from an appreciating rupee, which dents dollar-billed earnings, forcing them to cut costs by expanding to less expensive locations.

"With the demand-supply gap widening, newer tier II cities will play a critical role in re-engineered globalisation models," said Tholons chairman Avinash Vashistha.

"Destinations will need to provide greater level of cost effectiveness and operational efficiency."

India's outsourcing companies have thrived by winning work from companies in the US and Europe that sought to tap the country's low costs and large employee pool by handing over jobs ranging from answering customers' calls to risk management and financial analysis.