India and China are set to add another layer to their growing partnership in Information Technology (IT), riding on the spirit of the Wuhan “informal” summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“We came out of the Wuhan summit with a very good understanding between the two leaders of each other…The political climate between India and China is such that you can now do business,” said Gautam Bambawale, India’s Ambassador to China.
Mr. Bambawale was addressing an Indian IT delegation, mainly of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), who wished to leverage the strength of the city of Guiyang, which has become a Big Data hub in southwest China.
Led by National Association for Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), Indian SMEs, some with an established footprint in the United States, intend to deploy their strengths in software. That would help find practical solutions for their clients—in areas such as banking or automobiles — by processing mountains of data that are available in China.
“The Guiyang story is mainly about data analytics. Data in a bank or a hospital, insurance service providers, a car company or flowing out social media, is a vital resource that can be harnessed by businesses and others to advance their interests,” says Gagan Sabharwal, Senior Director, Global Trade Development, at NASSCOM, during a conversation with The Hindu .
Mr. Sabharwal pointed out that the Guiyang Science and Technology Park is hosting a NASSCOM IT corridor, where rent free office space, and other attractive facilities, for Indian companies wanting to do business in China, are being generously offered. “Our idea is to provide an enabling environment at the NASSCOM corridor where Indian software companies can set up shop, find Chinese partners to co-create high value products,” Mr. Sabharwal observed.
At the heart of the “match-making” exercise between Indian and Chinese companies is the Sino-Indian Digital Collaborative Opportunities Plaza (SIDCOP) platform. SIDCOP is central to breaking the language barrier between Indian and Chinese partnering entrepreneurs. “This is an AI enabled platform where Indian companies can register and showcase their niche strengths in the English language. This information gets automatically translated into Mandarin, which can be accessed by potential partners in China. The system works equally well in reverse,” says Sujit Chatterjee, founder of Zeta-V, which has designed the platform.
“The local government has been generous in helping us not only to establish the corridor, but also in assisting us in providing linkages with some Chinese companies,” Mr. Chatterjee observed.
On Sunday, Sasken Technologies, an Indian company that also has a footprint in the U.S., signed a deal with China’s Guizhou Han Kaisi Intelligent Technologies. “We will simulate crash testing of an autonomous vehicle in the virtual space based on the detailed data provided by our Chinese partner” says Karthik Gopal, China country-head of the company.
The story of growing China-India tie-ups, with a U.S. corporate overhang, was also visible when OneGlobe — an Indian software company, with a presence in the U.S — signed a deal in Guiyang for an unnamed banking-sector client.
Most corporate representatives, wanting to study opportunities in the Guiyang NASSCOM corridor, acknowledged that the internet-based automation of Chinese industry — part of the Made-in-China 2025 plan — offered boundless opportunities for Indian software companies, willing to climb the ladder of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT). “Chinese industry is at a point of inflexion, as it is transitioning from low-tech manufacturing to advanced digital production, based on Germany’s Industry 4.0 model,” says P. Chandrasekhar of Altimetrik, a software company with a presence in Hong Kong and Michigan.
In tune with the growing opportunities in China, NASSCOM is planning to open at least two more IT corridors that will service the Beijing-Tianjin area as well as south China. “NASSCOM already has an IT corridor in the city of Dalian to service opportunities in northeast China. We are looking at Xiamen that would cater to demand in south China and its periphery. We are also considering Langfang — a city located between Beijing and the Tianjin port — as another exciting opportunity for an IT corridor,” Mr. Sabharwal said.