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November 17, 1999
He's among the wealthiest people in the business, a fact often alluded to in magazines like Forbes that make it their business to find out who's who in the marketplace.
But Charles Wang, chief executive officer of Computer Associates International Inc, who was visiting India to promote a new joint venture with Escosoft, was modesty personified.
When he did speak up, it was to announce his conviction that the Internet would have to be integrated with IT infrastructure if it has to make business sense. The Internet cannot justify itself in isolation, he said.
Talking about CA's tie-up with Escosoft, Wang said the joint venture would combine CA's technology and Escosoft's knowledge of the local market. Wang believes that to survive in the dog-eat-puppy world of information technology, the only way is to understand the different business structures that coexist.
And this is where the Internet will play a role in integrating the different worlds. Wang said his company, which PC Magazine had placed in its list of most influential companies, aims at providing solutions and tools to build applications and the infrastructure that the application needs.
Talking about his firm's security services, Wang said most big sites, including Yahoo, Hotmail, even Microsoft, use CAI's security products.
"The whole point is of integration. Our new joint venture with Escosoft too is in this direction," he said.
The joint venture with Escosoft, software subsidiary of the Escorts Group, is aimed at developing software solutions in the telecom and health-care sectors. The joint venture, named CA-Escosoft has "equal equity participation" by both partners.
Rs 60 million is to be invested over the next 18 months and further investments will be linked to the company's growth, Wang said.
The new company is expected to break even in the next two-three years. As of now, the staff, including the CEO, is yet to be appointed.
Wang said, "CA's development strategy for India is to partner local companies to propagate our technology and to support the development of the local software industry."
He said the JV further demonstrated CA's commitment to promoting the growth of India's software industry and was part of the $ 100-million investment plan for the country, announced by the company in April 1997, over a five-year period.
CA-Escosoft would develop, market and license telecom and healthcare solutions based on Unicenter TNG, CA's enterprise management software, and Jasmine II, its information infrastructure. "We foresee enormous growth opportunities in these two sectors," Wang said.
He said CA-Escosoft would explore export opportunities after creating products and making them popular in the domestic market. CA would continue to seek strategic alliances with Indian companies with technological strength and marketing expertise to popularise its various software solutions, he said.
The new venture, he said, would have no conflict with its JV with the Chatterjee Group, Computer Associates TCG Software (CATS), which operates CA's largest development centre outside the US, in Calcutta.
The new company, which is to be ready with its first product in about 18 months, is expected to have a turnover of about Rs 100 million in two years, if everything goes right.
Escosoft, which markets telecom and Internet IT solutions and related services, is expected to use the opportunity to tap the synergy between IT and telecom technologies.
Wang made it clear that India is not just a source of cheap labour for his company. "We aim to develop the local infotech industry so that India can be a source of products and services which can be used across the world," he said.
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