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                              | IT INDIA '97/COMDEX
December 3, 1997


Profit, curiosity, the twin draws of the Comdex exhibition

Vijay Shankar at Pragati Maidan

Past the inaugural speeches and the chill of a wintry morning, the visitors began streaming into the IT India '97/Comdex exhibition halls at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

This is the second of the series of IT India '97/Comdex exhibitions, for which over 300 exhibitors across India and abroad have lined up. This year's IT event is about twice as big as the one last year, covering about 33,000
Net policing
The big investor
The foreign invasion
The twin draws

square metres of exhibition space. A reflection, perhaps, on the growth and participation of the Indian IT industry.

The exhibitors from companies in the US, the UK, Singapore and Taiwan were represented by country pavilions.

There appeared to be various reasons why the visitors came to the exhibition. According to Rajeev Sehgal, a technocrat who runs an enterprise called Bell Design Automation at Delhi, "I am looking for the latest automation software on the Indian scene and if there has been any technology jump recently." He is interested in coming in contact with smaller, unknown software companies since "the bigger companies are more oriented towards marketing".

Ajay Babbar and Amarpreet Singh, IT consultants with their own firm in Ludhiana, Punjab, want to see what comes off the shelf as computer solutions for different customer groups. They would like to upgrade their units, especially with networking equipment. So far they said, they had been impressed by the stalls of TVS Electronics and Sundaram Technologies.

Charu Lavania, a young system analyst at Modi Xerox's software division, was at the exhibition to "get familiar, look for new products in object-oriented and systems programming". She was particularly interested in seeing the latest software interfaces for systems programming, her own area of work. As for the rest, she is quite satisfied with what she has seen.

The participants too exude confidence, saying coming to the show was a good thing after all. Says Sunil Kumar, project director, Fortune Office Systems, Hyderabad (annual turnover Rs 60 million), "We are participating for the 3rd time in an IT exhibition. Such exhibitions do increase awareness and assist business," said Kumar, adding that after such shows, the company often got many reseller inquiries for its products. "We get to meet many buyers, in the public sector, banks and private IT organisation at one forum," he says.

S V Ramanan, deputy general manager, corporate planning, CMC, a leading services and solutions company, says interaction with large IT users opened up prospects for his company, especially in the public sector.

Kim Sang Hyrn from South Korea is in India to set up a software development company in Bangalore. He travelled to Delhi after visiting the Las Vegas Comdex. He wants to check out the IT resources in India and wonders whether his company can market its Internet solutions here.

It wasn't only the business fraternity that visited the show. There were also people like Reena Singh, a commerce student of Delhi University, who admitted she was lured by curiosity. A computer buff, she is keen to know about developments in the field.

Over 100,000 visitors are expected to visit the exhibition, much more than the 78,000 last year. For the moment the target looks achievable. For the rest, one will have to wait and see how well the exhibition is received over the next three days.

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