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An Indian’s view on the Chindian software outsourcing condition

Written By: Anna Mallikarjunan
Published On: November 17 2008

I was positively staggered to read the article “Should North Americans Send More Software Development Work to China?” Perhaps my opinions are underlined with a bias of the South Indian (you’ll find Bangalore in those parts) variety, a fierce one at that too (which is why I have long abstained from writing the article “Why Indian outsourcing is the next best thing to sliced bread”). Nevertheless, I maintain that the article does not present an objective view of the state of outsourcing to China & India. Do read on, because as fiercely competitive as we Indians are, we are just as capable of self-inquiry and mindfulness.

If the general idea is to demonstrate how outsourcing to China may be as good, if not a better option than outsourcing to India, a clear insight into Indian outsourcing is noticeable by its absence. “Finding a developer from India to back up the software you are using” does not give me a sense of certainty in the subject being discussed. There is a lot more to software outsourcing in India; like the country itself, it has a rich and exciting history that contributes to its current state, and consequently, its future.

“It is hard to answer without really trying out any Chinese outsourcers, but evidences show that Chinese developers are growing quickly.” If CMMI is the only evidence, then again I really don’t see how that instills confidence, say, if I were an executive looking to outsource some part(s) of my software systems/process. I would like to see concrete evidence of successful software projects developed in China. It seems half-hearted and therefore prudent to simply state where the weaknesses are and how these weaknesses are being overcome.

“Moving to China also makes sense if we consider the complementary factors between China and India. Although the two neighboring countries have some major similarities—both are highly populated and are in the development phase, there are also some significant differences (e.g., social system, culture, economic structure, etc.). By building a vendor portfolio that includes India, China, and other countries (such as Ireland and the Ukraine), North American software vendors will be able to offset risk factors and achieve stable product or project delivery.”
This sounds like an ambitious sociological conclusion. Why would it be beneficial for a company to send their development needs to 4 different countries? How can dealing with 4 countries be better than understanding completely and dealing with one country? Why talk about Ireland and Ukraine (why not Brazil, Russia…) in an article that seems to be looking at the state of outsourcing to China and India?

Here’s my spin. In recent times, China and India have been collaborating on various grounds; I think that will be a significant factor in the future of outsourcing to that region.
•    Indian tech firms are establishing units in China, even using China as a base to other Asian markets
•    Chinese hardware companies and Indian software companies are forming alliances to serve global consumer markets
•    The Sino-India Education and Technology Alliance is growing in importance; Indian universities are admitting more and more Chinese students, even offering Chinese in the curriculum
•    For the first time in the history of the region, a Tamil language news station (Cheena Vanolli) has been created with its base in Beijing!

Software outsourcing seems to be no longer about India or China; companies already established in the business of software outsourcing are setting trends; exchange programs in Indian universities are paving the way for a new kind of partnership. It is time to start recognizing Outsourcing to Chindia.

These are just my thoughts and opinions. I’m presenting them because I believe this is what impartial research is all about--sharing ideas and opinions to continually revive the process of learning, discovery and innovation.
 
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