Speaking in New Delhi yesterday, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said that the Redmond software giant plans to invest $1.7 billion and hire 3,000 additional people in India over the next four years, as reported in today’s Wall Street Journal.
This announcement follows computer chip manufacturer Intel’s Monday statement that it planned to invest $1 billion in India over the next five years and explore manufacturing possibilities on the subcontinent, and Tuesday’s J. P. Morgan Chase declaration that the global financial company would add 4,500 new employees to its Indian workforce by 2007, doubling the number of people it employs in India. In October, Internet equipment maker Cisco Systems stated it would invest $1.1 billion in India.
Gates said he expects India to become an increasingly important market for his company’s software as well as a source for the skilled and inexpensive engineers Microsoft needs to grow.
“We plan to bridge the digital divide, accelerate IT literacy and affordable access to technology,” said Gates.
That digital divide is already narrowing. An Associated Press report today stated that a just released industry study predicts that the number of Internet users in India will rise to 100 million in two years from the current 38.5 million.
And Gartner said yesterday that it expects annual technology spending by U.S. companies in India to more than double to $43 billion in the next four years.