Middle East IT firms looking to invest in KeralaOctober 27th, 2008 - 3:48 pm ICT by IANS
Dubai, Oct 27 (IANS) Around 20 IT companies with operations in the Middle East are in an advanced stage of discussions with the Kerala government to invest in that south Indian state.During the course of the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) 2008, the Middle East’s largest technology show held here last week, the companies evoked keen interest in investing in Kerala.
“Around 20 IT companies with operations in the Middle East approached us with plans to either migrate or expand their operations to Kerala,” Ajay Kumar, Kerala’s information technology secretary, told IANS over phone from Thiruvananthapuram Monday.
“This involves an IT industrial space of around 100,000 square feet in our technoparks in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi,” he said.
Kerala’s IT department showcased the state as a premier investment destination for the first time ever through its participation in GITEX.
The state, which had till now focused on the Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram and Infopark in Kochi, is now actively expanding the IT industry to other parts of the state and has thrown open the sector for private sector investment in a major way.
According to Kumar, the state is offering three types of investment opportunities in the IT sector.
“One is investment in IT townships and SEZs (special economic zones). Second is investment in standalone IT parks and the third is investment by IT companies and carrying out their operations from Kerala,” he said.
During the course of GITEX, a couple of investors have evoked keen interest in Kerala’s IT infrastructure.
“We are in an advanced stage of discussions with a couple of Middle East-based investors who are keen to invest in IT infrastructure in the state,” he said.
Apart from this, Bangladesh IT authorities have also evoked interest in Kerala.
“The Bangladesh consul general (in Dubai) visited our stall during GITEX. We had very fruitful discussions as Bangladesh is very interested in collaborating with Kerala in IT and e-governance,” Kumar said.
Earlier, during the course of GITEX, Kumar had said the state was scaling up its IT operations with the aim of generating over 200,000 jobs within the next five years.
“Today we have two IT parks - Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram and Infopark in Kochi. We are scaling up (the number of parks in the state) from two to 10 over the next 10 years,” he said.
He said as these parks take shape, employment opportunities in the state’s IT sector would grow immensely.
“Today we have 40,000-45,000 employees in the IT sector. Our plan is to multiply this several fold, at least fivefold in the next five years or so,” he said.