From Calcutta to Cape Town
Amazon.com has opened a software development centre in Cape Town. Chris Pinkham, a South Africa returning home from Seattle to head the operation, says Amazon chose South Africa because of its pool of high-calibre IT workers and its good infrastructure.
The centre will create programs for users around the world.
South Africa is well placed to benefit from the trend of offshoring business processes, such as customer care and payroll administration, to places where skilled labour is cheaper. Offshoring could create 100,000 jobs in South Africa and attract $120 million-$230 million in foreign investments by 2008.
As well as speaking English and being in a time zone close to Western Europe's South Africa offers sophisticated insurance and banking sectors, a pool of qualified people, well-developed telecoms and IT infrastructure, and good business services.
British and US firms could cut the cost of some services by 30-40 per cent by providing them from South Africa. That is why IBM decided to open a call centre for global corporate clients in Johannesburg.
Yet much needs to be done if South Africa is to win a lot more business from abroad.
The staggering price of telecoms is a big problem.
A company in South Africa will pay about nine times more than one in Singapore for ADSL broadband.
It will pay almost twice as much as in Malaysia for a domestic leased line, and 11 times more than in India.
An international phone call costs 70 per cent than India.
The cost of a three-minute local call ballooned by over 25 per cent every year from 1997-2003.
South Africa, however, can become a serious contender to the well established Indian, Singaporean and Pilipino to countries like India and the Philippines who have long been the .South Africa must get its act together, or foreigners will send their business to other shores.
Compiled from The Australian 6/9/05 and The Economist
PS: Who knows - soon, instead of getting diverted to Delhi, your next call to a service centre could well be diverted to Durban. You'll know when this happens when you hear something like this:
Thanks for calling the Dell customer service desk. What's vaaing ekse in varum Brisbane? You ous in there must be having a bloody lekker time without the crime and all. A connection here at graft dialled me into your Crescents of Brisbane website yesterday, and it made me lag. You must be an expat from Durban, with a porsie near the Kuraby mosque. It was kiff to read this but made me mal that I couldn't choon the ous at graft. Blind ekse.
So I chooned a connection from Chatsworth and we skeemed it would be cool to catch up and have a dop. Like all durban ou's, we smaak to make a better, so I went for a trap and scored some kaartjies down the road. We hadn't checked each other since that time so we got fully dronk, made a few tings, and ended up way west. We trapped down the road fully goofed, scored some munchies and scooped a kiff chow and killed a bunny. The ou serving us schemed he was way to do, so we vloeked him and ducked.
I went back to my porsie. My stekkie was woes, and charfed me that I had pulled a blind action.
How's this bru, the Addington surf's been doening it. It's been firing, off its pip. I know I'm chooning you what what, but we are going to klap a mission tomorrow. Pull in ekse. Let's go grind some barrels. If not, hope you okes get a couple. We might end up blasting a few dead bees as well. You check, it's the old story, you get numb and vaai surfing.
So much about me, cuz - now choon me about that thing that's going wrong with your laptop and all.