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[Opinion] Bangalore

Posted March. 11, 2006 02:59,   


The book “The World is Flat,” which has been on the New York Times bestsellers list for 47 weeks, is about globalization 3.0. The book states that after globalization 1.0, which started with the discovery of the New World by Columbus, and globalization 2.0, which was led by the world powers and multinationals from the year 1800 to the year 2000, it is time for individuals to upgrade themselves. Thomas L. Friedman, the author of the book, reported that the title flashed through his mind when he was talking with the president of Infosys, an Indian IT company. The president said, “Tom, the stage on which we are competing is becoming flat.” The headquarters of Infosys is in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, Karnakata.

Bangalore, the Indian “Silicon Valley,” hosts three international companies every week. The top three Indian IT companies, Infosys, TCS and Wipro, create 1,000 jobs every month. They do not just receive calls for multinationals. They are also increasingly engaged in the high value-added service industry, including financial services, medical services and research and development. The 700,000–strong quality manpower, which is the core weapon of Bangalore, is physically in the city but provides services to the world’s centers, including U.S. companies.

India is equipped with the world’s largest human resource pool, which is fluent in English and excellent in technology. The bitter experience of British colonial rule turned into English fluency for the people. About 28 percent of the 2.5 million annual college graduates are equipped with global competitiveness. World-class universities, including the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) produce about 250,000 engineers every year. Considering the level of competence, salaries are extremely low there. For example, an Indian lawyer is paid $100 per hour for what a U.S. lawyer does for $300 per hour.

India has been able to nurture quality human resources because the interventionist Indian government has not intervened in education. There is even a term “licence raj” which describes the interventionist rule of the Indian government, but the government is not allowed to interfere in school admissions as well as curriculums. The excellence of IIT, which is reportedly harder to enter than Harvard, is based on this. However, the government still intervenes in the corporate sector, which is evident in the rigid labor market and excessive regulations. The country became the IT hub thanks to bold tax benefits, but it also prevents promising companies from further developing.

Kim Sun-deok, Editorial Writer, yuri@donga.com