China taps India's software expertise with IT joint venture

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An Indian software firm, ZenSar Technologies, has set up a joint venture with Hong Kong-based Han Consulting to develop new software and IT services for the Chinese market.

The partners have put in $100,000 each in what is the first joint venture between an Indian and a Chinese firm. ZenSar said the project is expected to bring in $12 million to $15 million in revenue within three years.

In terms of initial investments the joint venture is a modest beginning. But the project could turn out to be a significant milestone in Sino-Indian business relations if it becomes a commercial success. It could also be a sign of closer co-operation between India and China.

The Honk Kong-based joint venture will sell ZenSar's financial and management software to Han Consulting clients, most of them state-run Chinese companies.

Poona-based ZenSar believes the joint venture should be beneficial to both Indian and Chinese software firms. While Indian software firms have the advantage of an English-speaking workforce and a global reputation of quality consulting, they suffer from weak demand at home.

China, on the other hand, has a huge domestic market. This is because China is a production and consumption centre for electronics, but is not known for its expertise in software development.

ZenSar itself is a joint venture between India's RPG group, the UK-based software company, ICL, and the investment arm of Jardine Fleming, an international financial corporation. This foray into Chinese markets is a strategic move aimed at trebling the company's revenues in three years.

Han Consulting is a subsidiary of Asia Logistics, one of China's bigger software companies. It counts state-owned companies like China Telecom and Dongfeng Motors amongst its clients.

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