Service Provision for the Global Economy: The Evolving Indian Experience

Since 1995, the offshoring of services to India has rapidly evolved from a curiosity only studied by a few scholars to a phenomenon portending a major shift in the geography of global economic activity. The article examines the evolution of Indian global services provision quantitatively and qualitatively through the use of four case studies. The first case study examines the challenge that the Indian information technology systems integrators (ITSIs) pose to the formerly larger—but now roughly comparable in terms of employment—incumbent developed-nation ITSIs. Because IT systems have become central to nearly every enterprise, the second case study illustrates the wide variety of enterprises that now have significant Indian offshore operations. The third case study describes the rapid growth of offshore integrated circuit design in India, a nation with now commercial-scale integrated circuit production. The final case study describes the emergence of high-opportunity entrepreneurial startups in India and the increasing number of Silicon Valley startups that very early in their lives or even as part of their business model have significant operations in India. The concluding discussion situates India within the global economy and speculates upon its future evolution.