India a talent house for German corpo giants: book


New Delhi : From electrical giant Siemens to SAP, Deutsche Bank, Bosch and many more, German firms are zooming in on Indian talent to design and develop products that meet global standards.

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They are here not just for the low cost but also for the large number of technical skills available, says Oliver Müller, former South Asia correspondent of the economic daily 'Handelsblatt', in his book "Wirtschaftsmacht Indien" (India: Economic Superpower).

Excerpts from the book were translated and published in the bimonthly magazine of the German embassy in New Delhi, German News.

"At first sight, Hosur Road (in Bangalore) seems like any Indian street – hot and dusty, potholed, clogged with traffic and saturated with air pollution. But under the street's scarred asphalt layer lie scores of data cables that transmit the knowledge of tens of thousands of engineers all over the world with the speed of light," comments Müller about the changes in India.

Deutsche Bank is among the firms that get financial offshoring done in India – rating credit worthiness, analysing stock, he says in the book.

Siemens, one of the world's largest companies and Europe's largest engineering firm, has "over 5,000" engineers in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi who are "developing software and pharmaceutical technologies and designing power stations".

Düsseldorf-headquartered chemical multinational Degussa GmbH, the world's largest producer of specialty chemicals, has operations in India, while Altana AG, the German chemical company based in Bad Homburg, is researching new drugs in Mumbai.

SAP AG, the largest European software enterprise and the third largest in the world, founded in 1972 as Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung by five former IBM engineers, is also here.

"SAP's research and development centre in Bangalore has in the meanwhile advanced to being the second largest in the company after that of its headquarters in Walldorf, Germany, and is the fastest-growing in the world," comments Müller.

"Every fourth SAP-developer is working in India now. SAP plans to invest a further one billion dollars in India."

It's not just cost that attracts German companies to India, feels the journalist, though an Indian earns less than one-fifth of what his German counterpart engineer earns.

Writes Müller: "It's not any more just call centre jobs or simple encoding work that is flooding into India. The offshoring wave has gone far beyond software and has gripped a diverse range of fields such as the design of large infrastructure complexes, power stations, oil rigs, aircraft parts and microchips."

He notes that even Hollywood productions are being co-created in Indian animation studios.

"(Indian knowledge skills, including in engineering, is the country's) most precious export item today. It earns India more than textiles, tea and spices, which formed the backbone of Indian export products over centuries," comments Müller.

He talks about the large number of Indian engineers graduating each year, and contrasts it with the US and Europe "falling behind in the sciences".

"Indians are crazy about the natural sciences," he quotes top pharma firm heads as saying. Some 100,000 chemists graduate from the universities each year, according to figures cited by Müller.