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20% of Cisco's Top Executives to Move to India!!

If you still needed any confirmation of the strength of Indian telecom market – here it is. Over the next 3-5 years, Cisco will move 20% – ONE-FIFTH – of its top brass to India!! Now, that is a MAJOR shift in any company. A lot of companies make the shift but this seems unprecedented!

And what prompts this shift?

– Great Market for Mobiles and a growing Internet usage
– Cheap talent that can help Cisco compete with Juniper and Huawei technologies.
– Good technical talent – not just cheap!

Wim Elfrink, Cisco’s (CSCO) chief globalization officer, is at the vanguard of a new initiative. This January, Elfrink will relocate from his San Jose (Calif.) headquarters to Bangalore, India. In a major display of commitment to the Indian market, Cisco plans to have at least 20% of its top executives working in India in the next three to five years, according to Elfrink.

After 11 years of low-key presence Cisco is now investing $1.1 billion in India in a variety of initiatives. “This is the largest commitment outside of Silicon Valley, as India is important to our global strategy,” said John Chambers, Cisco’s chairman and chief executive officer, during a two-day India visit in December.

Why the huge ambitions? One reason lies in the size of India’s market. While Internet penetration in India stands at a mere 4.5%, the online market there is one of the fastest growing in the world and the Indian cellular market is white hot. Cisco has to have a major presence, says Ashok Jhunjhunwala, professor of electrical engineering at Chennai’s Indian Institute of Technology. “India has emerged as the largest telecom market today,” he adds.

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Desh Kapoor

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