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June 10, 1997


NASSCOM to launch Asian software initiative

The National Association of Software and Service Companies is launching an Asian software initiative to expand the global market for Indian software and also reduce the dependence of the Indian software industry on the United States, which accounts for nearly 60 per cent of exports.

NASSCOM's Asian software initiative included and expanded on the scope of the South East Asian initiative that it was planning with the Asian Development Bank by including major economies like Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the South East Asian countries.

It will, however, be on line of its successful European initiative, Project NIESA (NASSCOM's India-Europe Software Alliance), which has resulted in Europe contributing about 23 per cent of the software exports turnover of Rs 39 billion.

"The Asian Software initiative which we have launched will open up the market in major Asian economies like Japan and Korea and also Australia and New Zealand. The Asia Pacific region contributes around Rs 4 billion and with this initiative it should touch Rs 3,0000 million by 2000. Indian companies are also realising that putting all the eggs in one basket (United States) exposes them to the adverse impact of change in policies be it due to nuclear non-proliferation agreement, child labour, Super 301 or visa rules" Dewang Mehta, executive director, NASSCOM said.

The scale of operation of the Asian initiative will be on par with that of Project NIESA, which has resulted in over 14 joint ventures, 43 business contracts, four joint product development ventures and attracted over 11 European companies to set up a distribution channel in India.

The Asian initiative will be financed by NASSCOM and its member companies and also by the Asian Development Bank. Apart from assisting this initiative by way of grants which ADB offers to chambers of commerce in different countries to increase inter-country activity under a programme, ABD along with 21 Asian banks, will be offering low-interest bearing loans to joint venture activities between companies under this initiative. These details will be finalised in couple of months, Mehta said.

Initially the major focus of this initiative will be providing solution to the Year 2000 problem. "Nearly all the countries have formed a task force to tackle the Year 2000 problem and we have initiated a dialogue with most of them. "The major market opportunity is in Japan," Mehta said.

Under this initiative NASSCOM, along with the Department of Electronics, is seeking to start Japanese language courses in leading institutes to offer the master of computer application degree and introduce similar programmes for companies to create resources to service the Japanese market.

"With this initiative NASSCOM will become a warehouse for matchmaking between companies in India and any other country for joint ventures, strategic alliances or partnerships," Mehta said.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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