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Rediff.com  » Business » UK firm ARM may set up R&D centre in India

UK firm ARM may set up R&D centre in India

November 17, 2003 11:01 IST

India and China are competing to host the latest research and development laboratory of ARM, the United Kingdom-based semi conductor company that design chips for digital cameras, printers, mobile telephones and handheld computers.

The company, which recently announced better than expected third-quarter results, hopes to double its workforce of 400 engineers, working with its existing research and development facilities in Cambridge, UK and Austin, Texas.

ARM chief executive Warren East is actively looking at investment in either India or China, following a company decision that any expansion must be in a low cost region.

Executives are said to be highly impressed in particular by India's highly educated work force, saying the quality of graduates in Mathematics and Science is so high that "we would be mad not to employ them."

One executive is quoted as saying of Indian graduates: "Its not just that they are cheap. They tend to have better skills than their British or American counterparts."

ARM's interest in India indicates the fresh Western investment in India is far more broadly based than the simple transfer of call centre technology.

Reuters recently announced plans to move hundreds of jobs to India and global management consultants McKinsey has revealed they employ more staff in India than they do in the UK.

More recognition of India's management, science and technology skills has come from drugs manufacturer GlaxoSmith Kline, which recently agreed to outsource research and clinical trials to Indian scientists.

The steady export of jobs from the UK to both India and China was confirmed at the weekend by the head of the UK's Confederation of British Industry (CBI) who warned that the two Asian giants could easily outperform the economies of Europe.

On the eve of this year's annual meeting of CBI, Digby Jones said in an interview that corporate Britain was in danger of losing its competitive edge and that "India and China will eat Europe for lunch, dinner and breakfast if we are not careful."

Shyam Bhatia in London