Bangalore's USP is skilled workforce: UK

'Indian firms have invested more in United Kingdom than in whole of European Union'

United Kingdom is beckoning the IT City to set up more research and development centres and companies in that country while promising the best of skills from UK to Bangalore.

Britain’s secretary of state for Business, Innovation and Skills, Dr Vince Cable will be in the City on Thursday to strengthen UK-Bangalore ties. However, the partnership so far has been intensely competitive.

The UK’s 14 best R and D institutions have set up base in Bangalore, while top 14 companies and research establishments from Bangalore have set up base in UK.
British High Commissioner Sir James Bevan on a recent visit to the City clearly underlined the importance of Bangalore to UK.

“Bangalore and Karnataka are good for Britain. Britain wants strong partners, and this City and State are strong and thriving.”

UK’s Rolls Royce recently opened a facility at HAL, while UK’s aerospace company BAe already has ties in software and jet trainers with HAL. Iconic ARM from Cambridge also has a presence in the City.

ARM microchips are used in 95 per cent of the world’s mobile phones and in Kindles and i-Pads too. Tesco, one of the world’s largest retailers, has a huge service centre here. Tesco Bangalore controls operations in Tesco stores around the world including Tesco London too.

So what is Bangalore’s strength that attracts such hi-tech companies from UK? The British High Commissioner busts a long-held myth: “These companies are not here because of low labour costs. That isn’t Bangalore’s USP any more: its USP is a highly skilled workforce, great technical expertise, relentless innovation, a strong ecosystem and huge scalability. That’s a powerful combination.” Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Biocon chairperson, agrees.

“Bangalore is a tech city, the start-up capital of India, the most innovative Indian city. Though we lag globally, Bangalore is still the youngest Indian city that is technically solid.”
The High Commissioner puts in perspective the presence of Bangalore in the UK: “In the last few years, Indian companies have invested more in the UK than in the whole of the European Union. We’ve seen that strong pattern of investment coming from Karnataka too.

“Infosys and Wipro are major employers in the UK. I had the pleasure of being hosted for dinner by Azim Premji, the Wipro Chairman, when I was last here. And Narayana Murthy, now back at the helm of Infosys, returned from London where he was a judge on the Queen Elizabeth prize which inspires engineering globally.”

Many ICT companies from Bangalore are now in the UK as well. Mindtree Consulting, Microland, Sasken, ITC Infotech and Symphony Services among many others. In life sciences, companies like Biocon, Avesthagen, Strides Arcolabs and Microlabs have a presence in the UK.

In the engineering field, local companies like HighTemp Furnaces and JVS are collaborating with UK companies and academic institutions. In the aerospace industry Dynamatics are in the UK and growing fast. Says the High Commissioner: “All of those companies are welcome in Britain. They are helping create the jobs, the growth and the innovation we want.”

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