Kerala IT sector to get big boost

Information technology infrastructure in Kerala will witness tremendous growth in the next three years, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said here yesterday.

“Several projects, both the government and private initiatives, are coming up throughout the state,” he said while inaugurating the new 450,000-sq ft campus of the IBS Software Services, a leading global provider of new-generation IT solutions to the travel, transportation and logistics industry, at Technopark here.

Dubai’s Tecom Investments is developing a 350-acre Smart City while Sobha Developers has started work on the 400-acre Hi-Tec city in Kochi. These two projects alone are expected to create 150,000 jobs.

Besides, the state government has announced a 500-acre Techno City to be built in Thiruvananthapuram and a contract had been awarded to a Malaysian consortium to develop a similar facility in Kozhikode.

The Cochin International Airport is developing an IT Park within its complex while major players like HDIL have announced a number of projects to build IT infrastructure in the state.
“The investment profile of the state has changed drastically and we receive a lot of inquiries these days for setting up new projects. Unlike Bangalore or Hyderabad, these are not concentrated in a single city,” Achuthanandan who also holds the IT portfolio said.

The IBS facility Achuthanandan inaugurated in the presence of former chief minister Oommen Chandy who took major initiatives to attract investors in the sector, is the first of the four blocks on the company’s campus spread over 5.26 acres within Technopark.

“We are planning similar campuses in all the 14 districts of the state and it won’t be limited to certain pockets. We are looking at a decentralised development of the IT industry in the state,” the chief minister said.

With a built-up area of 450,000 sq ft, the campus will accommodate over 4,000 professionals.
“Besides government support, the excellent infrastructure available at the Technopark here and Infopark in Kochi has encouraged us to maintain Kerala as the hub for our India operations,” V K Mathews, chairman of IBS, said. “The state is emerging as a key IT destination and IBS’ growth over the last decade is testimony to our belief in Kerala.”

IT majors Wipro, Infosys and TCS are also building similar campuses in the state.
The IBS India operates out of 200,000sq ft of office space in three buildings in the Technopark and two buildings in Infopark.

“This campus here marks a beginning for the next level of our aggressive growth plans, as we aim to grow into a Rs10bn company by 2010. We also have plans to set up other campuses within Kerala, in Kochi and Kozhikode, and to open development centres outside the state,” Mathews said.

Meanwhile, UST Global, a California-based IT firm that has its Indian headquarters at Technopark here, yesterday announced expansion plans involving an investment of $130mn (Rs5bn).

Sajan Pillai, president and chief operating officer of the company, said the development strategy would be rolled out in three phases.

“We are building our own campus at the 36 acres that Kerala government has given us inside Technopark. After it is completed, we would have 1.3mn sq ft of campus that would employ 10,000 professionals,” Pillai said.

UST Global began its operations in 1999. Today it is the biggest software employer in Kerala with a total business of $250mn last fiscal.

Currently it employs 5,500 professionals, of which close to 3,500 work at Technopark.
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