Cisco to have a fifth of its top executives in India

By 2012, India will be company's development hub and a base for technology and applications that can be deployed worldwide

Cisco Systems plans to have one-fifth of its top executives in India by 2012, in line with its plan to make India the hub for the development of technologies and new business models for emerging markets.

The company expects 60 to 70 percent of its growth to come from emerging markets, John Chambers, the company's chairman and CEO, said in Bangalore at the inauguration of the company's Globalisation Centre East campus. The new center will work with partners in the Middle East, Africa, China, Asia, and Latin America on developing technologies for these markets.

While emerging markets are growing at between 5 and 10 percent, markets in developed countries are growing at just 1 to 4 percent, according to various estimates, Chambers said.

The company's plan to have senior vice presidents, vice presidents, and directors, cutting across all corporate functions, in India is not aimed at cutting costs, but at nurturing talent in India, said Wim Elfrink, chief globalization officer for Cisco, who also heads the new center.

Cisco currently employs about 3,000 staff in India, which it plans to increase to 10,000 by 2010. The new center, which currently has 900 staff, is expected to grow to 3,500 staff by October next year, said Elfrink. Some of the technologies developed in India will be rolled out in other emerging economies, and also in developed countries, he added.

Cisco also announced Tuesday a collaboration with Indian outsourcer Satyam Computer Services, of Hyderabad, to focus on software for handling medical distress situations and other health management applications. Cisco plans to take a minority interest in the venture, details of which were not disclosed. Health care is one instance of Cisco's strategy to use India as base for technology and applications that can be deployed worldwide, Chambers said.

The company announced in 2005 that it would invest $1.1 billion in India over three years, including $750 million in research and development (R&D), $100 million in customer support, and $100 million in a venture fund. The planned investment is on track, Chambers told reporters in Delhi on Monday.

Chambers announced Tuesday that the company was increasing the size of the venture fund by $100 million. The venture fund will be focused on "disruptive technologies," Chambers said.