Indian outsourcing giant Wipro is expanding its operations in the UK, creating 500 new jobs in the process.
Wipro revealed its expansion plans on Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown's visit to India last week. The company already has a 2,000-strong UK workforce and will increase the headcount by 500 in 2007 at its existing facilities in Reading and new sites in lower-cost parts of the UK, including Birmingham.
Kees Tenninjenhuis, European senior vice president at Wipro, told ZDNet UK's sister site silicon.com that as the company starts offering higher value services to UK customers it needs more local experience.
"We are looking for centres that would be cheaper than Reading and near a university," said Tenninjenhuis. "We are starting with 100 to 200 and scale up to 500. We will send them to India for several months to become fully trained in our methods and processes. We are becoming bigger and more global."
Tenninjenhuis denied that the increased local labour costs compared to Indian levels would hit profit margins and force the company to increase its prices. "If one UK worker can create work for 10 Indian workers we believe we can do it on a neutral basis," he said.
All the top Indian IT companies are expanding their Western operations as they try to become true multinational corporations. Tata Consultancy Services has more than 3,000 staff in the UK and Infosys last year embarked on a drive to recruit UK graduates as the company expands its European operations. Infosys has 60,000 employees worldwide with 1,500 based in the UK.
Mark Kobayashi-Hillary, author of Outsourcing to India, told silicon.com: "All of the major Indian players are trying to position themselves as less Indian and more global. They want a level playing field where they can compete with the established global companies. That's a positive thing for all of us. It means if you work in the IT industry here you are just as likely to work for an Indian company."