The perception of India as an outsourcing hub for ICT has been dispelled and Australia will now be looking at India for its innovative strengths and expertise in the industry, says Jackie Taranto, the organiser of CeBIT Australia and Managing Director of Hannover Fairs Australia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the global trade group company Deutsche Messe AG.
“This event has laid the foundation of a strong partnership going forward. Australia has understood that companies coming from India are not outsourcing companies, but these are experts whether in the field of e-government or e-health or financial services. The broad spectrum of Indian companies represented at CeBIT gave a clear picture of the advancements India has made and having the Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology, Sachin Pilot, showed the commitment and professionalism, the youth and opportunity between the two countries”, Ms Taranto told Business Standard.
The three-day event (May 22-24), largest of its kind in the Asia-Pacific, provided the over 60 Indian companies a unique platform for networking and market development. India’s participation at CeBIT Australia has been growing steadily over the past years, with more companies using the event as a launching pad into the Australian market.
India's participation as the partner country in CeBIT Australia was a major initiative supported by the Prime Ministers of both countries. India attracted immense interest both politically and through the industry, not just ICT but banking, finance, health, education and government. “People were surprisingly impressed with the Indian companies’ indepth knowledge and futuristic outlook. Australia has established itself in innovation and research but it really needs a large amount of skills and collaboration with a powerhouse such as India for its ICT industry to grow”, Ms Taranto said.
More than 500 regional and global exhibitors, over 30,000 business visitors and delegations from 16 countries participated in CeBIT Australia held at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour.
Underlining the potential of over one billion people strong market, Pilot said, “India is open for business and we welcome you with open arms and a warm heart. There are thousands of niche and mass markets waiting to be tapped, offering opportunities for all sorts of service providers, manufacturers and traders”. The minister had a series of discussions with Australian Federal and State governments on enhancing trade and partnership opportunities in IT between the two countries.
Bilateral trade between India and Australia has increased annually by approximately 18 per cent over the past five years, making India, Australia's fifth largest and fastest-growing trading partner.
President of National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) Som Mittal told Business Standard said, “There are three opportunities for us: One is about leveraging India’s best practices and the resource base, second is the Indian domestic market itself, and third is taking innovative companies from Australia and giving them global reach because we can embed their solutions in what we offer to our customers”.
Calling on educational institutions in both countries to collaborate, Mittal said, “What we produce are trainable resources, but what we need is industry ready resources. Today industry does that as a part, but we want to move that into the education system or post education system. It is our endeavour to encourage continuous development and innovation in countries our members operate in”.
Members of the Australia chapter of Nasscom have currently invested upwards of $100M to setup more than 20 development centres in Australia and currently employ more than 7000 people in Australia. They have strong links with many universities in Australia to recruit students for global projects and run student internships programmes. At the event, the inaugural Nasscom Innovation Students Awards were presented to students from various Australian universities.
All the major Indian IT companies have a presence in Australia and many are expanding operations and creating jobs here. As J Satyanarayana, Secretary, Ministry of Communications and IT, Department of Electronics and IT said, “CeBIT Australia will be seen as a significant milestone in the progress of strengthening bilateral relationship, through partnership, joint research and collaboration”.