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May 26, 2003

Global movement of information technology discussed May 30

By Jennifer McNulty

Leaders of industry and academia will discuss the implications of the growing global movement of information technology at a workshop in Silicon Valley on May 30.

Cosponsored by the UC Santa Cruz Center for International Economics (SCCIE), the workshop will focus on the roles of China, India, and Silicon Valley and the opportunities for competition and partnership that accompany global economic change. It will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. in the UC Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Regional Center at Moffett Field.

Among the participants are AnnaLee Saxenian, author of Silicon Valley’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128 and a UC Berkeley professor in the School of Information Management and Systems and the Department of City and Regional Planning; Alok Aggarwal, former director of IBM’s India Research Laboratory and cofounder and chairman of Evalueserve; and Rafiq Dossani, a consulting professor at Stanford University’s Asia/Pacific Research Center.

A full workshop schedule is available online.

Silicon Valley is already strongly tied to China and India through entrepreneurs, investment, and technology, noted Nirvikar Singh, UCSC professor of economics and codirector of SCCIE. The coming decades will see these ties deepen, with China and India becoming even more central players and markets for California and each other, he said. For Silicon Valley, the central question is whether China and India will be competitors, partners, or merely markets in the global IT industry.

Technology itself is partly a driver of the changing relationship. As telecommunications technology has reached around the globe, China and India have emerged as key providers of IT services. "We never thought it would make sense to move services overseas because we require contact to provide service, but all that has changed as it costs the same to call Idaho as to call India, where services can be provided at one-third to one-quarter the cost," said Singh.

Technology provides the opportunity, but how Silicon Valley, Chinese, and Indian companies manage these new relationships -- and issues of security, reliability, and national interest -- remains an open question. Already the manufacturing "workshop of the world," China is developing new ties with India as companies in both nations become global forces in their own right. "The effect may be not only cheaper servicing of the U.S. market but also more effective servicing of the Asian market," Singh said.

Silicon Valley remains an unparalleled center of IT innovation, management, and partnership for both nations. But the nature of the global IT industry is dynamic -- with technologies, markets, and human networks in constant evolution -- and requires new perspectives and insights on the future, added Singh.

Other cosponsors of the workshop are the UCSC Center for Global, International and Regional Studies; Kamil and Talat Hasan; the UC Santa Cruz Office of Research; and the UCSC South Asian Studies Initiative. For further information please e-mail SCCIE.

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