UK woos Indian techies from US

Britain's minister for small business and e-commerce Patricia Hewitt on Wednesday asked Indian tech firms and professionals to choose to work in Britain over the United States.

Britain's minister for small business and e-commerce Patricia Hewitt on Wednesday asked Indian tech firms and professionals to choose to work in Britain over the United States.

BANGALORE, India -- "My message to India's ICE (information, communications, entertainment) companies is very simple. Think of us first," Hewitt said in a statement at an annual technology conference in Bangalore, India's tech capital.

The minister is the latest in a series of global businesses and government leaders who have wooed India's computer software engineers to move abroad.

At least a dozen countries including the United States, Japan, Germany and Ireland have in recent months visited India's main technology cities to woo computer professionals.

High demand for tech workers
The U.S. Congress last month approved a rise in the number of visas available for highly skilled workers to 195,000 per year for the next three years from 115,000 available in 2000.

A majority of those visas are expected to be given to Indian professionals.

Hewitt said the United States no longer had the technological edge it had in the past to attract tech professionals over Britain.

She said the future of the Internet was focused on access through mobile phones and digital television and not personal computers which are predominant in the United States.

"We lead the U.S. in mobile telephony by 18 months or so. In 15 months, digital TV has penetrated one in five (British) homes, again ahead of the U.S.," Hewitt said in the statement.

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