Monday, November 30, 2009

IT majors worried about cascading effect of Dubai crisis

MUMBAI/BANGALORE: As World, the emirate’s investment firm seeks more time to repay almost $60-billion debt, India’s top tech firms fear that the once lucrative West Asia market for outsourcing can enter a prolonged recession and customers in other top export markets of the US and Europe may exercise more caution while making outsourcing decisions.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys Technologies, Wipro, HCL and Patni Computer Systems are among Indian tech firms serving telecom, banking and other customers in the West Asia region. Dubai, the biggest commercial hub in the region saw home prices plunge by nearly half from 2008 levels, reflecting the worst real estate slump during the global recession, according to Deutsche AG.

“Global confidence is coming back. We were hoping for more spends. But now the confidence of our customers is shaking. I expect they are going to be a bit more cautious about spends and will not open up so much. Budgets were getting firmed up in December—clients will now relook at the whole thing,” said a senior software executive with one of the firms that was looking at the West Asia and Africa as a growth markets. Publicly, though, few firms are willing to admit to these worries.

While Wipro counts Qatar Petroleum and Road and Transport Authority of Dubai among its top customers, TCS serves Saudi Telecom. Domestic rivals Mahindra Satyam also counts Dubai Municipality and National Bank of Dubai among its key customers in the region.

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