Cisco carves India as key region

By agencies   |   Monday, 20 March 2006, 08:00 Hrs
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SAN DIEGO: Close on the heels of announcing over $1.1 billion investment in India, Cisco Systems Inc, the global communications networking major, has elevated the status of India to an independent region instead of being clubbed with Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia as part of its south Asia operations.

This signifies the country's growing importance in the overall Cisco global set-up. In an internal reorganization of the Asia Pacific market, which accounts for about 12 percent of the company’s global revenue, India has recently been elevated to the position of a standalone region. So long, India was part of the south Asia pack, which comprised Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia besides India.

According to a Cisco’s executive said, “Now, India (and the SAARC region) is one of the four independent markets in the Asia Pacific theatre.” This signifies the growing importance of India in the overall Cisco global operations.

As part of the Asia Pacific business recast, Hong King — which was originally part of North Asia — has become part of China while Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia form the rest of Asia. Australia and New Zealand continue to be part of one market.

Cisco is gearing up to ramp up India operations in a big way. It plans to increase headcount (inclusive of the third-party dedicated contractors) to 10,000 over three years by which time about $1.2 billion will be pumped in— the largest Cisco investment outside San Jose where it is headquartered.

“We are on a fasttrack operation in India. We are partnering with the Tatas, the Birlas, Reliance Infocomm and the Indian government for various projects. At this moment, it is growing faster than China where we face a bit of local competition,” said John T Chambers, President & CEO of Cisco Systems.

The Indian operation is expected to grow by 30 percent against 20 percent growth In China. Last October, Chamber had announced over $1.1 billion investment plan in India, which included investments in venture capital funds. “May be you can hear more on this when I visit India next time,” Chambers said.

He is banking heavily on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are making the best use of the convergence in the IT sector.

“Ten years back in 1995-96, India was a $10 million market for us. It has grown in a very big way. In terms of broadband penetration of the reach of Internet and mobile phones, it may not be a very sophisticated market but it has enormous growth potential,” he added. According to him, the absence of wire infrastructure in India is a advantage for Cisco.

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