With two big IT initiatives already happening in the Indian city, Kochi is about to become a hub for entrepreneurship. Its potential for economic development may enable it to compete with sister-city Dubai and its DIC program.

Kochi- soon to become SMART!

Kochi, southern commercial city in India, seems to be a city full of potential for the tech sector : indeed, last June we were writing about Startup Village initiative and its 5,000 employment opportunities. This time, it’s a 30 billion INR ICT project which caught our attention. Named ‘SmartCity Kochi’, the project has the potential to generate 90,000 job opportunities in the near future by being a global networking IT hub and stepping stone to international market.  Promoted by TECOM Investments and Govt. of Kerala, this pavilion occupies a total area of 8.8 million square feet and intends to be a conglomerate of enterprises (multinationals, SME’s and start ups accommodated equally) with a vision to create worldwide network of self sustained business townships thereby cultivating a powerful knowledge economy. But why choose Kerala as top destination for this kind of initiative?

Kerala-A happening IT destination

Indeed the Indian state has turned out to be a powerful destination for technology enhancement because of three  main reasons -- it is composed of a dense tech savvy population, it has low infrastructure costs and highly skilled personnel with shortest learning curve. At present the IT sector contributes to about 7 per cent of India’s GDP and employs about 2.4 million software professionals. The establishment of this township will surely result in innumerable benefits to the society as there will be high inflow of foreign currency, export of IT products and thereby improvement of GDP. By 2014, IT-related exports from India are expected to touch 87 billion USD which is definitely a promising sign for more IT companies to flock in and expand. Subsequently, Kerala with its hub and spoke structure has succeeded in creating a major impact in the state’s growth. SmartCity Kochi is proposed to be a self sustained township for knowledge based companies, causing a significant impact to the economy with its vibrant knowledge community anchored by global IT giants like IBM, HP, Oracle, Microsoft and so on.

SmartCity – A replica of Dubai Internet City

It is, by the way, interesting to notice that SmartCity Kochi is being developed as a replica of Dubai Internet city by promoting investments, augmenting economy and generating job opportunities for the community. Dubai Internet city (DIC)-established in mid 2000, is the largest ICT hub in Middle East and also an abode to fortune 500 companies and multinationals. Being a center for wide pool of talent and technical expertise, it is also a commercial hub accommodating retail outlets, parks and hotel chains. In 2008, when the UAE market for IT products and services touched 3.1 billion dollars, many global giants swarmed in to this destination. Furthermore with the economic zone’s tax exemptions, privileged customs benefits and 100% foreign ownership rights, they have successfully moved in regional bases to this IT Park. This is why SmartCity Kochi’s ecosystem is also intended to be a hub for hospitality, residence, mega retail outlets, recreation, hotels, entertainment parks etc. The buildings located in this hub are proposed to be constructed under eco-friendly specifications ensuring the constitution of a green economy. Though the proposal had been initially tormented with political oppositions and agitations, yet now it’s busy successfully establishing permanent roots in Kochi and is promised to emerge soon as one of India’s largest business IT Parks incorporating global industry giants.

By Jayadev Madhusoodanan Vasantham