Cisco to invest US$1.1 billion in India

Cisco Systems Inc. announced Wednesday that it will invest US$1.1 billion in India over the next three years. Cisco President and Chief Executive Officer John Chambers made the announcement in Delhi on the first leg of his three-day visit to the country.

The company also announced that it will triple the number of staff it employs in India over the next three to four years, and said that it is investing $10 million to support the Indian government’s e-governance programs.

Of the $1.1 billion investment, $750 million will go towards its R&D (research and development) operations in India, including training, development and staffing over the next three years, according to statement Wednesday by the company. Cisco’s own R&D activities will be complemented by work done by Indian partner companies, the company said.

Cisco in San Jose, California, already operates an R&D center in Bangalore. The company also outsources work to Indian software services companies.

Of the 1,400 staff Cisco employs in India, about 1,300 are in R&D, and the rest are in sales and marketing, said a spokesman for the company. The company also has 4,200 staff at Indian outsourcing companies who are working on Cisco projects. “The three-fold increase in staff we have announced applies only to our own staff, and does not cover staff with partners,” the spokesman added.

The company also plans to invest $150 million in India through Cisco Systems Capital, a division of Cisco Systems, to provide leasing and other financial services to Cisco’s customers and partners. The company also plans to invest $100 million in venture capital for Indian startup companies, besides spending $100 million in its customer support operations in the country.

As part of its assistance to India’s e-governance projects, Cisco will provide networking equipment required to build networking infrastructure for up to 100 villages in the country, the company announced. The Indian government plans to set up Common Service Centers in villages in India for providing citizens online access to government services in rural areas.

The company is also setting up an IP-based (Internet Protocol-based) Next Generation Network Lab for Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL), the country’s large, government-owned telecommunications service provider. The lab will be set up in Chennai in south India and will help BSNL test services before rolling them out on the actual network, Cisco said.

Under its SWAN (Structured Wireless-Aware Network) Advanced Technology Enablement Program, Cisco will also provide networking equipment for setting up Advanced Technology Centers of Excellence at the headquarters of Indian state governments.

These centers will serve as pilots and proof-of-concept labs that will enable the demonstration of networking technologies. They will also serve as test beds for state governments to test applications and services before they are rolled out on the SWAN Network, the company said.

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