A lot is being made out of Chinese threat to Indian IT industry and also threat from other emerging cheap IT labour markets like Eastern Europe (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic), Latin America (Brazil, Argentina), China, East Asian Countries (Malaysia, Philippines), Russia, etc. But I don’t think any threat from any of these countries at least in next 10 years.
The reason why I think so is because the Outsourcing industry in the world is flourishing because of following three reasons:
- Cheap IT/ Engineering labour,
- English speaking skills and
- Easy and quick Scalability.
All of these three skills or differentiators are equally important for a country to be a real outsourcer and a real threat to India. Because if you have engineers and they are not cheap no point (case is Russia), or you have cheap engineers and also in abundance but no English (China) no point and you have English speaking engineers but not in abundance (Latin America, East Europe and East Asia) then again no point. And all these three above criteria are satisfied by India only.
A lot is being made of China that China will be able to teach English skills to all its engineers in no time and it'll be a threat. But teaching English is no child's play, it take years to be comfortable wit it. The biggest Chinese IT outsourcing company's turnover is not more than $300m in 2006 and that is no match for TCS and Infosys of India. Also most of Chinese companies’ work is domestic.
Another thing IT project management skills (5+ year experience) are costly in China than in India. So the so-called cost advantage of China over India is just a mirage not reality. Also China mainly caters to Japanese market because Dalian area in China provides Japanese speaking resources. There is hardly any work being done for non-Asian market in China. Similarly other countries like Russia, Brazil, Philippines, etc. can not provide scalability which is required in any service industry. Outsourcing jobs requires huge numbers of engineers which are not available in these countries.But all these countries can be very good partners for Indian companies. Indians can utilise these countries by setting their operations in these countries and can tap their local market. So I feel there are more opportunities for Indian IT companies in these countries then threats. Like Indian can open centre in Russia for high end IT work and product development work because of the excellent talent there. Latin America and Eastern Europe could be used to cater for non-English clients. China and Eastern Asia can be used for servicing local and Japanese market. So emergence of these new hotspots should excite India rather intimidate.