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IT gold mine for Korea, India

Information technology has revolutionized our world with software programming becoming the modern global script.

Two countries leading the digital revolution are India and South Korea, yet even with healthy bilateral trade, the synergies in this sector are still not as vigorous as the Indian side would like.

“We were focusing on the early wins we could get,” said India’s National Association of Software and Service Companies president Som Mittal.

He explained to The Korea Herald that 80 percent of India’s $60 billion industry comes from their ties with companies in the United States and Britain.

“This shows how many missed opportunities there are elsewhere from us as well as Korea,” he said.

Issues that hindered that relationship in the past have been language and culture.

“Technology knows no barriers. In India, there are many Korean companies so if they can break through that market with the language and culture differences then we have to do the same as well here,” he said.

To help tear down those barriers, the Indian Embassy hosted a forum that teamed information technology leaders on both sides to find ways to make the most of past deals like the Korea-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

“The forum is an effort to leverage the extensive synergy between the well-developed Korean economy and India’s IT prowess, so that Korean companies and organizations can derive maximum benefit from this partnership,” said India Ambassador Skand R. Tayal.
Som Mittal, president of India’s National Association of Software and Service Companies, speaks during the “India-Korea IT Partnership for Global Success” forum on March 14.(Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)
Som Mittal, president of India’s National Association of Software and Service Companies, speaks during the “India-Korea IT Partnership for Global Success” forum on March 14.(Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)

India’s software industry has gained almost a 55 percent share in the global IT-business process outsourcing market and cemented a presence in 66 countries across the globe.

Looking toward the next 5-10 years, Mittal warned that many young people are not studying information technology sciences.

“Due to the negative population growth and young people not entering into technology, there’s going to be a need for talent,” Mittal said.

He added that Indian companies can help fill that gap not only because of the fresh pool of Indian talent waiting to be discovered, but also because of Indian companies’ reputation and cumulative experience in developing best practices through their dealings with Fortune 500 companies.

“The value we offer today is not about cost and efficiency alone, it’s about transformation, it’s about change,” said Mittal.

For this to happen, Mittal admits that there is a need to reduce friction in trade.

While the trade figures look good, Mittal notes that the truth is hidden within the numbers due to the value of products being shipped from both sides.

Korea ships many high-value products while Indian products coming to these shores are generally low-value-added which in turn increases the trade gap.

“Both sides should be worried about it,” he said. “We need to find ways and means of bridging this.”

By Yoav Cerralbo (yoav@heraldcorp.com)
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