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Scotland woos Bangalore's IT, BT industry

November 12, 2005 11:57 IST

The land of James Watt, the inventor of the steam engine, Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, and John Baird, the inventor of the TV is now looking towards countries like India and China for investments. India's IT, BT prowess has Scotland trying to woo Indian firms.

A Scottish delegation headed by Nicol Stephen, deputy first minister and minister for enterprise and learning of Scotland, is in Bangalore with a delegation to woo the IT industry.

Scotland, which has a significant presence in IT industry, is promoting itself as a destination for investments in energy, life sciences, electronics and financial services too.

Many giants from the electronics industry were attracted to Scotland by the financial and material inducements. By the 1980s there was a big enough concentration of electronics firms in the central belt of Scotland, and it came to be called Silicon Glen.

Traditionally, Silicon Glen focussed on the inward investment of electronic companies. But today many of these firms are shutting shop and moving to cheaper locations. This has had a debilitating effect on the economy.

Silicon Glen at one time had more computers being made per head of population than any other country. Today the story is different. IBM's computer making unit has shut shop and many others have moved out.

The rise and fall of Scotland's call centres also tell a similar story. The growth of automated systems and electronic commerce on the Internet and outsourcing to India are the culprits.

Scotland now wants a way out. It hopes to start with the call centre industry. "Scotland's favourable time zone can help Indian companies serve customers across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific from Scotland," said Stephen.

"We are also looking for academic linkages with some of the prominent institutions like JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology)," said Mark T S Batho, head of the Lifelong Learning Group of the Lifelong Learning Department of Scotland. We hope to have academic exchanges, he added.
BS Bureau in Bangalore
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