Once primarily a place for outsourcing call centers and repetitive software development, Bangalore is now home to a thriving research and development (R&D) industry that is driving advances in chip and software design and innovative healthcare products, writes Saritha Rai. Google's Map Maker, Intel's Xeon processor, Microsoft's Bing search engine, and Hewlett-Packard's Dynamic Smart Cool Technology were all designed, at least in part, in Bangalore.
Bangalore's evolution into a mature global R&D center has taken place in only a few years, largely due to an ecosystem of inexpensive talent, maturing skills, and innovative ideas for new products and services. "There is a defined shift post-2007," says Zinnov Management Consulting's Praveen Bhadada, author of a recently released study titled "India R&D Talent Pool."
Companies are not just shifting research and development to India, they are also shifting R&D management to India. "By giving core R&D responsibilities to their India heads, companies like Cisco, General Electric, and IBM have pioneered a new global innovation model," says Navi Radjou, executive director of the University of Cambridge's Center for India & Global Business. Costs in Bangalore are similar to other global R&D centers such as Shanghai, the Ukraine, and Russia, according to Zinnov's analysis.
Bangalore does have some challenges, particularly a weak infrastructure. However, Radjou says that using Bangalore or Shanghai to shape Western businesses' global identities is a smart strategy given that emerging markets will account for much of their future economic growth.
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