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Infosys plans to set up multiple innovation hubs in the US — the largest export market for Indian information technology (IT) services firms — with its first centre in Indiana, where it will be hiring over 2,000 local engineers. The Bengaluru-based IT major will replicate its Indian model of hiring thousands of freshers from campuses and then training and deploying them on projects for customers, in the US. “Increasingly, we are looking at how to create more innovation hubs in the US. We will be hiring 2,000 people in Indiana to create local innovations.
What we are realising is, over the decades we have built deep capabilities in creating learning infrastructure and capacity building, and that investment is very valuable,” said Nandan Nilekani, chairman, Infosys, on Tuesday.“(We are) hiring people locally and will see how using our learning infrastructure we can do capacity building for the future,” he added. Indian IT firms, which traditionally sent engineers to work on projects in the US, have been increasingly facing a political backlash, putting pressure on them to hire local employees. At the same time, a shift in how clients spend technology budgets towards digital projects, where engineers need to work with customers instead of remotely delivering software, is also pushing them to hire more local engineers. Nilekani, who returned at the helm of India’s second-largest IT services company in August, said the company would look to create more innovation hubs beginning with Indiana and use its deep capabilities in training to educate local people in new technologies. He said opportunities were there to exchange innovation models with the US companies, using India’s digital initiatives. The Infosys chairman said rapid changes in use of technology across businesses would require a new set of skills and Indiana was one of many such innovation hubs planned to supplement that. US Consul General to India, Robert Burgess, said the bilateral trade last year expanded to nearly $115 billion, an all-time high, while the two-way investment reached $40 billion. “We are seeing cooperation expand in new areas,” Burgess said. India and US may have a great potential through sector-focused trade agreement. Paula Stern, chairwoman, The Stern Group Inc, said the two nations could benefit significantly through a sectoral agreement for cooperation on IT, e-commerce and cyber security. “I think it could jump-start a much broader geo-strategic relationship.”