China's outsourcing sector faces challenges to catch up with India, People's Daily

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  1. JAYRAM

    JAYRAM 2 STRIKE CORPS Senior Member

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    08:27, June 20, 20


    by Xinhua writer
    Zhang Zhengfu Faced with rising costs, fragmentation and possible overcapacity, and an inherent disadvantage in language and culture, China's software and outsourcing sector still has a long way to go before it can catch up with the world's leader India.

    This is the consensus reached by Chinese business leaders at the ongoing China International Software and Information Service Fair in China's northeastern coastal city of Dalian, which has attracted industry heavyweights from around the world.

    China's software and outsourcing sector grew 43 percent year-on-year in 2010 to reach 19.8 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 5.4 percent of the world's total, compared with 4.4 percent in 2009, according to Qiu Hong, assistant minister of the Ministry of Commerce at the fair.

    However, China's software and outsourcing sector has to overcome a number of hurdles and "it seems the golden age for the software and outsourcing industry is over," said Liu Jiren, chairman and chief executive officer of China's largest IT service provider Neusoft, when comparing the past and future of China's software and outsourcing sector.

    MOVING UP AFTER COST RISES

    As wages are rising, the RMB is appreciating and more Chinese cities have joined the bandwagon, China's software industry in the next 10 to 20 years would not follow the same trajectory of the past 10 years, Liu said in his speech to a forum during the fair.

    Supported by low labor costs and government policy support, China's software and outsourcing sector has enjoyed an annual growth rate of nearly 40 percent in the past 10 years, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

    "However, the age featuring low-cost software engineers has gone in China, and I don't think that age will come back," said Neusoft's CEO.

    Running costs in the software sector have been growing by at least 10 percent annually for the past couple of years. Such increases were difficult for overseas customers to bear, Liu said.

    The solution was to move up the value chain through innovation and investing in new technologies, like cloud computing and the Internet of things, he said.

    "Technology itself will play less and less a role in the business success of the software and outsourcing sector, that's why I think a company won't be successful in the long run if it only has excellent tech staff."

    It also needs to make breakthroughs in business models, consultation, and how to provide solutions and services which are best tailored to customers, Liu said.

    OVERALL PLANNING TO CURB OVERCAPACITY

    As China is transforming its economy from being based on low wages to value-added products, many Chinese cities are considering whether to make the software sector their leading economic driving force, business leaders told Xinhua.

    Inspired by what was achieved in Dalian, a city reliant on heavy industry before the turn of the century but now accounts for more than a 10th of China's total software and outsourcing sector output, many cities are attempting to reduplicate its success story.

    This would leave China's software sector fragmented and give rise to overcapacity, said Michael Ye, vice president of Dalian Software Park (DLSP), home to more than 500 Chinese and foreign companies, including IBM, HP and Cisco, and about 70 percent of Dalian's total software and outsourcing sector output.

    More than 20 cities in China are aiming to copy the success model of Dalian, which really poses risks, as not all of them are well equipped to become IT hubs, Ye told Xinhua in an interview.

    This is in sharp contrast with India, by far the largest outsourcing service provider which accounts for more than 40 percent of the world's total sector. India has only four cities that are strongly focused on software development and outsourcing.

    Just in China's coastal Jiangsu Province, there are five or six cities struggling to become centers for software development and outsourcing, Ye said.

    The central government should make an overall plan which selects those cities with the most and the highest quality universities, Ye said.

    He suggested the establishment of one software and outsourcing hub in each of the country's five main regions, namely southwest, north, south, central, and northeast China.

    CULTURE AND LANGUAGE

    Another problem facing China's outsourcing companies is their lack of competitiveness in exploring the U.S. and European markets.

    While the United States and Europe make up about 80 percent of the world's outsourcing market, and Japan accounts for about 10 percent, more than 60 percent of China's outsourcing business comes from Japan, according to the Beijing-based Essence Securities.

    Apart from being an English-speaking country, India's biggest advantage over China is that it has a culture, both economic and political, which is much more closer and compatible to that of Western countries, said Ye.

    This can be reflected by the fact that China's software companies lag far behind the Indian in providing outsourcing services to U.S. and European financial institutions, Ye explained with an example.

    "This is mainly because India has almost the same financial system as the United States and Europe, which China does not," Ye said.

    However, as China becomes more and more globalized, the English language skills of college graduates will improve and its culture will evolve, but it will take a long time before China can seriously challenge India's dominance in serving Western countries outsourcing needs, he said.

    China's outsourcing sector faces challenges to catch up with India - People's Daily Online
     
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  3. warriorextreme

    warriorextreme Senior Member Senior Member

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    indian software companies even provide service to chinese companies..
     

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