US-based Skybox Security logs 154 percent increase in revenue from India

Feb 2, 2017 0

New Delhi–Cyber security firm Skybox Security on Thursday said it has registered a 154 per cent increase in revenue (year-over-year) earned from the Indian businesses in 2016.

Skybox recently opened an India support centre in Bengaluru, providing additional technical support to customers in the country and the Asia-Pacific and China (APAC) region.

Avi Corfas

“Internet penetration and adoption of ‘leap frog’ technologies like WLAN, mobile devices and virtualised networks are driving growth because they bring with them a dramatically different threat landscape and security management challenges,” said Avi Corfas, Vice President, APAC and Latin America, Skybox Security, in a statement.

As part of its Digital India initiative, The National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Center (NCIIPC) recently released 40 tenets to improve cybersecurity in organisations essential to the economy, health and defence.

“Compliance may be the number one operational challenge for Indian businesses — most businesses, for that matter,” added Sridhar Namachivayan, Regional Director of India and Saarc, Skybox.

Skybox works with 15 top-tier channel partners in India, including Mahindra SSG, Valuepoint Techsol, Wipro and HCL.

“Without network automation to streamline workflows, data collection and analysis, tracking and reporting, security teams simply can’t keep up with compliance requirements. On top of that workload, they must also be concerned with the needs of the business and the day-to-day protection of their organisation,” Namachivayan added.

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Modi-Trump meeting in June may make things better for H-1B visa

Jan 31, 2017 0

C.P. Gurnani

New Delhi– Grappling with the likely fallout of the US government’s proposed H-1B visa reform bill in the US House of Representatives, C.P. Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra, hopes that things will become better once Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets US President Donald Trump, most likely in June.

A legislation that calls for doubling the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to $130,000 from the current minimum wage of $60,000, has been introduced in US House of Representatives — a move that could badly impact Indian techies in the US.

President Donald Trump

“President Trump (already) had a conversation with Prime Minister Modi. I am sure they will meet very soon. Both of them have a background (Trump has a background of running businesses and Modi is clearly a pro-business prime minister) and both will definitely find a meeting ground,” Gurnani told BTVi in an interview.

“Prime Minister Modi is not shy of raising issues or putting issues on the table and neither is Trump. So I do believe that this meeting can happen as early as June and if this meeting happens in June there should be a positive outcome,” he added.

Asserting the position of Indian IT companies in the US, Gurnani said: “In the US a few senators can sponsor a Bill but it is for the Congress to decide it’s the right Bill or not. The viewpoint of Indian industry is very loud and clear.”

He said Indian companies have been a net investor in America. India-incorporated IT companies investments is close to $2 billion in the US and India incorporated IT companies are able to create about 100,000 jobs a year in America.

“Similarly we believe that we contribute to America with very high skilled work force because we are reacting to a demand-supply. The reality is that in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the US needs that smart capital. So it’s a win-win for both India and America,” Gurnani added.

Expressing his faith on Trump’s decisiveness, Gurnani said: “My belief is that India and America both can be great because an American corporation needs the rest of the world (the world outside of America) as much as they need internal America.”

He said in an average American company 30 per cent of their business is within the US and 70 per cent is outside the US.

On Tech Mahindra’s operations in the US, Gurnani said: “Even before the Trump administration, we had six development centers, two engineering centers, two data centers and one device testing lab in the US. And we were running it, localising it because it was the right thing to do both for Tech Mahindra and our American customers.”

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IT firm Cyient acquires US-based Certon Software for $7.5 million

Jan 24, 2017 0

Hyderabad–IT services firm Cyient Ltd., through its wholly owned subsidiary Cyient Inc., has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100 percent shares of US-based Certon Software Inc. in an all-cash transaction.

Incorporated in 2006, Certon is an IP-led innovative provider of full product life-cycle engineering services to companies seeking certification approval for safety-critical systems, embedded software and electronic hardware. It employs a core team of around 45 people and showed revenues of $7.3 million in calendar year 2015.

Anand Parameswaran

The Hyderabad-based company said that this transaction will further strengthen the automation in its key vertical aerospace and defence in line with strategy for growth.

“The enterprise value payable will be $7.5 million on a cash-free and debt-free basis, subject to closing adjustments,” Cyient said in a BSE listing.

This is Cyient’s fifth acquisition in the last 2.5 years as part of its ‘design-build-maintain’ strategy.

Cyient has a strong cash position of $127 million and will continue to look for acquisitions that will enable it to achieve its goal of industry-leading growth.

“This acquisition will enable Cyient to create a differentiated value proposition in avionics that aligns with our aerospace and defence strategy of becoming a key Design Led Manufacturing (DLM) player in this space,” said Cyient’s Senior Vice President Anand Parameswaran.

“In Cyient, Certon has found a partner that is strategically aligned to its business and whose global presence and financial strength will be of immense value,” said CEO and founder of Certon, Timothy Stockon.

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US-based Salesforce to add 1,000 jobs in Hyderabad

Jan 24, 2017 0

Hyderabad– Software services major Salesforce plans to add 1,000 jobs in Hyderabad by 2020, making the city one of its largest engineering and customer success centers globally.

The company, which opened a new Center of Excellence (CoE) here on Tuesday, will expand its team of enterprise software engineers and customer success representatives in Hyderabad .

Srinivas Tallapragada

Telangana Minister for Marketing T. Harish Rao inaugurated the CoE in the presence of US Consul General Katherine B. Hadda and Salesforce President, Technology and Product, Srinivas Tallapragada.

The company said cloud computing was growing rapidly in India.

“Our research with IDC shows that the benefits of cloud computing coming from Salesforce customers in India will add a GDP impact of $4.2 billion to the Indian economy.”

Salesforce said it remained committed to India and made significant investments since November last year. (IANS)

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India: Protectionism fears remain but US-India collaboration to continue

Jan 21, 2017 0

New Delhi– With Donald Trump taking over the reins of the US, industry stakeholders in India and the government feel that the fears of protectionism and curbs on H1B visas will remain, but that the US will continue its financial and technological collaboration with India.

“We believe that US will continue to support global growth with financial and technological collaborations and investments,” Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa told IANS.

“We hope to build strong relationship between two dynamic democracies for the mutual benefit of the two biggest economies for the well being and prosperity of its people,” Lavasa added.

Nevertheless, industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) pointed out that the focus of the new US regime would be “inwards”.

Sunil Kanoria

“Not much of globalisation is expected. They will have the preference and support to their own people which is natural. Indian industries have to reinvent themselves. Indian industries have to take the opportunity in terms of goods and services, investing in the US,” Sunil Kanoria, President, Assocham and Vice Chairman, Srei Infrastructure Finance Limited told IANS.

“Apprehensions over possible negative impact on India’s IT industry is nothing but exaggeration. Indian IT professionals are known the world over for their expertise in providing affordable IT products and solutions and the same has been acknowledged globally,” D.S. Rawat, Secretary General of Assocham, told IANS.

However, industry chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) said Indian industry is very optimistic about the incoming administration under President Trump and the future of India-US relations under the new US administration.

“The optimism about President Trump stems from the fact that he promises major tax cuts and reforms, which may instil the US back on a 3-4 per cent growth path, reviving not only the US economy but boosting the global economy,” the chamber added.

Another leading industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) hoped that “enormous mutual complementarities” between the two countries economies are fully leveraged.

“Business has always been at the forefront of this bilateral relationship and has helped strengthen the strategic imperative,” Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII was quoted as saying in a statement.

“As President Trump begins to implement his America First vision, we hope that the enormous mutual complementarities between our two economies are fully leveraged.”

“Indian companies are very much a part of the fabric of America and they stand ready to work with President Trump going forward,” Banerjee added.

State Bank of India chief economist Soumya Kanti Ghosh felt that the US will go for some sort of fiscal expansion – through increased infrastructure spending or tax cuts – which will lead to some capital outflow from India.

“If the US goes for fiscal expansion then countries like India will be at a disadvantage because there will be capital outflow from India,” Ghosh told IANS.

“Protectionist trend is another thing that India is fearful about. It could harm the developing economies more than the developed economies. It could be a drag on the developing economies. Lower growth in India-US trade could be problematic for India,” he added.

Ghosh, however, said the true impact of Trump becoming the 45th President of the US needs to be assessed after the initial 100 days as his policies unfold because the impact on India could be both positive and negative.

The worst fear is the effect on Indian IT industry in terms of curbs on H1B visas as promised by Trump. The stakeholders, however, felt that the issue has always been there and the apprehension could turn out to be an exaggeration.

“H1B visa is a bone of contention. The issue is there for a long time. It is just getting more attention now because the US President has specifically mentioned it. But we should not give too much attention to it,” Ghosh said.

R. Chandrashekhar, President, Nasscom, said the Indian IT industry looks forward to working with the Trump administration and the new Congress on issues of great importance.

“Our members provide critical services to thousands of companies, government agencies, non-profits and others across America. Indian IT companies work with 75 per cent of the Fortune 500 firms and help meet the needs of US businesses for skilled IT solutions to innovate, open new markets and expand operations, and thereby create thousands of jobs for Americans,” Chandrashekhar told IANS.

Indian IT firms have also significantly invested across the US. A survey found 84 of 100 Indian companies plan to invest in the US over the next five years, building on a presence in all the 50 states already.

“Contrary to some mis-perceptions and political rhetoric, the Indian IT sector has long contributed to the US economy in more ways than one. Besides making the US firms more efficient and competitive, the Indian IT industry has helped them develop new technologies and new products over the years, benefiting their customers and the American job growth,” B.V.R. Mohan Reddy, former Chairman, Nasscom told IANS.

With the rhetoric of Trump fading into the past, Reddy said that the US administration would take a balanced approach to high-skilled visas and the contribution of India’s IT sector to its economy.

Nidhi Goyal, Managing Director-Tax and Regulatory Affairs, Protiviti, told IANS: “Indians working abroad on H1B visa may not get extension to continue working in the US as its own citizens will be given preference over non-US citizens.”

Experts feel the equity markets will react strongly.

“President Trump’s remark ‘Buy American, Hire American’ is extremely disturbing. Protectionist nationalism is bad for global economy, global trade and markets. Stock markets will view this negatively,” V.K. Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist, Geojit BNP Paribas, told IANS. (IANS)

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Don’t be flippant with Indian symbols, Amazon told

Jan 15, 2017 0

New Delhi– Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das on Sunday asked e-tailer Amazon to refrain from being flippant about Indian symbols and icons and warned the American e-commerce giant that “indifference will be at your own peril”.

“Amazon, better behave. Desist from being flippant about Indian symbols & icons. Indifference will be at your own peril,” Das said in a tweet.

“Remain committed to economic reforms, ease of doing business & open trade. Sometimes get touchy when our icons are involved,” he said in a separate tweet.

Shaktikanta Das

In a third tweet, however, he added: “Comment on Amazon was as a citizen of India as I felt strongly about it. Nothing more should be read into it.”

The Secretary’s comments came days after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj received a complaint about doormats portraying the Indian flag being listed for sale on Amazon’s Canada website.

Two days after Amazon’s Canada portal removed the article with doormats depicting the Indian flag after India objected to it, the online company, on its US portal, put up another article of slippers with Mahatma Gandhi’s image on it.

This provoked the Indian Ministry of External Affairs to say on Saturday that the company should respect Indian sensitivities and sentiments.

“As a follow up to the matter regarding the sale of doormats with the Indian flag on Amazon, our Ambassador in Washington has been instructed to convey to Amazon that while providing a platform for third party vendors, they should respect Indian sensitivities and sentiments,” said MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

Amazon describes the products as ‘Gandhi flip flops’ as a pair of “foam rubber flip flops”. It costs $16.99, or about Rs 1,200.

Soon after India threatened it won’t grant visas to any Amazon official if the company did not withdraw the Indian flag-themed doormat from its Canadian platform, the e-commerce website removed the article from the online marketplace, a media report said on Thursday.

“Amazon must tender unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately,” Swaraj had said in a tweet.

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Amazon writes to Sushma, regrets hurting Indian sensibilities

Jan 12, 2017 0

New Delhi–Amazon has written to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj expressing regrets at hurting Indian sensibilities, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Thursday.

Swarup in a tweet said Amazon, in a response to Sushma Swaraj’s tweet, expressed “regret at hurting Indian sensibilities” and added that they have pulled off the offending item.

A copy of the letter was also tweeted by Sushma Swarup in which Amazon said the items – doormats with Indian flag – were posted by a third party and they took it down.

Sushma Swaraj

“A third-party seller, not Amazon, had listed these products for sale in Canada. These products were not available in India. After learning of the product’s listing, we immediately removed them from the Canadian website and implemented measures to ensure that these products could not be sold on any of our other marketplace or websites,” the letter said.

The letter said Amazon remains “steadfastly committed to India”, and refered to its CEO Jeff Bezo’s announcement to invest $5 billion in India.

It said Amazon values “immensely” its relationship with the Indian government, the country’s entrepreneurs and innovators, Indian customers and employees.

“Amaon is committed to respecting Indian laws and customs. To the extend that these items offered by a third-party seller in Canada offended Indian sensibilities, Amazon regrets the same,” it said.

“At not time did we intend or mean to offend Indian sentiments,” it said.

After being tweeted images of doormats featuring the Indian flag being available on Amazon Canada site by two vendors — Mayers Flag Doormats and XLYL, Sushma Swaraj had on Wednesday said Amazon must tender an unconditional apology and withdraw all products insulting the Tricolour, otherwise no Amazon official will get an Indian visa. (IANS)

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Amazon removes Indian flag doormat from website

Jan 11, 2017 0

Washington/Ottawa– Soon after India threatened of not granting Indian Visa to any Amazon official if the company did not withdraw an Indian flag-themed doormat from its Canadian platform, the e-commerce website removed the article from the online marketplace.

A spokesman for Amazon based at its headquarters in Seattle contacted The Washington Post to say that the doormat was no longer for sale on its website.

Sushma Swaraj

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said Amazon must tender an unconditional apology and withdraw all products insulting the Tricolour, otherwise no Amazon official will get an Indian visa.

“Amazon must tender unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately,” the External Affairs Minister said in a tweet.

“If this is not done forthwith, we will not grant Indian Visa to any Amazon official. We will also rescind the Visas issued earlier,” she said.

Doormats featuring the Indian flag were made available on Amazon Canada site by two vendors — Mayers Flag Doormats and XLYL.

An image of the products was tweeted to the Minister, after which she asked the Indian High Commission in Canada to raise the issue with Amazon.

“Indian High Commission in Canada: This is unacceptable. Please take this up with Amazon at the highest level,” the Minister tweeted. (IANS)

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Don’t overestimate Indo-US economic ties: Chinese daily

Jan 10, 2017 0

Beijing– India is fooling itself if it thinks its economy will bloom by siding with the US, an influential Chinese newspaper said on Tuesday.

The state-run Global Times warned in an editorial that “overestimating US-India economic ties may mislead India and send it down the wrong path for economic development”.

It told New Delhi to work with a “manufacturing powerhouse” like China.

The editorial came after Assocham said India was likely to be harmed by the trade war between the US and China. It said India’s service exports to Americans firms would be hit if it did not side with the US.

“It would be naive for India to assume that its economy will boom if it draws closer to the upcoming Trump administration amid a pending trade war between Beijing and Washington,” said the daily.

US President-elect Donald Trump has threatened China with high taxes on Chinese goods and accused it of devaluing Chinese currency.

Assocham’s advise to India to “lean toward Washington” to avoid being implicated and be ready to reap economic gains appears pragmatic but could prove short-sighted, said the daily, which is known to reflect the thinking in the Chinese Communist leadership.

“New Delhi needs to be realistic in terms of growth.

“Instead of tilting toward the US, it should focus on developing its manufacturing industry and integrating itself into the global supply chain…

“To achieve that, the best way is to work with a manufacturing powerhouse like China and develop its manufacturing capacity to become an integral part of the Asian supply chain.”

The paper said India was mistaken if it thought the US needed India more than it needs China.

“The weight of economic ties between China and the US is heavier than those between India and the US.

“Bilateral trade between China and the US reached $558 billion in 2015 while trade between India and US was about $109 billion.

“It would be self-deceptive to believe that the US needs India more than it does China.”

China is the top trade partner of the US and over 120 countries.

“India needs to realize that there is no shortcut when it comes to economic development. Failing to realize this, India risks setting its economy on a dead-end route,” the editorial said. (IANS)

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Nasscom to counter H1-B visa bill

Jan 7, 2017 0

Mumbai– In a bid to counter the bill for H1-B visas which has been re-introduced in the US Congress after a failed attempt in July last year, Nasscom will highlight the discriminatory nature of the proposed provisions, a top official said.

“The US government’s statistics said there is shortage of skilled workers. It is question of demand and supply. The current bill and many other such legislative measures are applied on a discriminatory basis.

Nasscom president R. Chandrashekhar

“We continue to share our perceptions about the skill shortages that exist, the kind of contribution the IT industry has made to corporate America. We share our deep concern at the discriminatory nature of the proposed provisions,” Nasscom’s President R. Chandrashekhar told BTVi in an interview.

The bill proposes a minimum pay of $100,000 annually to every employee taken to US under the H1-B visa which is an over 66 per cent increase from the current average.

He said the bill was a statement of intention at this point of time.

“We have to see what route it takes. It does not immediately mean that anything is going to happen in a hurry,” said Chandrashekhar.

The competitiveness of the industry arises from the value proposition of India, he said.

“In the past, there has been reluctance in the US Congress to deal with such issues relating to immigration on a piecemeal basis in preference for a more comprehensive bill which covers all the aspects of immigration,” he said. (IANS)

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