Infosys Technologies will set up shop in China shortly. An announcement to this effect is expected at the infotech exhibition to be held by the National Association of Software and Service Companies in Shanghai on Thursday.
Infosys will set up a 200-man development centre, and is taking up a 20,000 square feet office to begin with in the Shanghai-Pudong Software Park, China's largest. Satyam is also expected to announce expansion of its centre in the park.
A Confederation of Indian Industry delegation, led by its president Anand Mahindra, on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Shanghai-Pudong Software Park where MphasiS BFL is also planning to locate its office. Tata Consultancy Services and NIIT are already located in this park.
Infosys chief N R Narayana Murthy had talked of entering the Chinese market two years ago, but the company's plans ran into rough weather. It now plans a foray through a subsidiary.
Infosys had said in March that plans to open a development centre in Shanghai were wrapped in red tape despite a personal invitation by former Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji in 2002. It said efforts to set up a branch office that would allow it to conduct its full range of business had proved futile so far.
"We are working with them to create a basic framework, but its execution requires a lot more time than anticipated," a company spokesman said.
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will address Thursday's meeting, signalling the importance that the government assigns to the sector. The Mayor of Shanghai, Han Zheng, will represent China. In fact, right through Vajpayee's visit, "infotech co-operation" has been a phrase repeated by senior Chinese leaders.
Around 300 top Chinese firms have confirmed their participation in the exhibition, the first one to showcase infotech talent from India. These will include banks and financial institutions, as well as telecom firms, both areas in which Indian software companies hope to do big business.
Another area where collaboration was expected, Nasscom President Kiran Karnik pointed out, was in infotech education. Thursday's exhibition will include a panel discussion with firms like TCS, Satyam and vMoksha participating. A senior director from Infosys will also be present, signalling the company's decision to enter the Chinese market.
Karnik today said while he did not expect to sign any MoUs during this visit, the purpose was to let Chinese firms know just how strong India was in the field of infotech. "With firms like TCS and Infosys participating in the programme, we will be displaying our top talent," Karnik said.Two years ago, Rongji had spoken of a Sino-Indian partnership in the sector, and also cleared setting up 35 computer engineering centres in China.