WASHINGTON: China is only 3-5 years behind India in software development, steadily closing the gap on the strength of better technology and learning from its competitor's mistakes, says a California-based IT industry expert.
China has also made great progress in teaching English to its citizens -- an effort that has been increasingly strengthening its challenge to India's dominance in computer software development and IT services industry, says Dale L Fuller, President and chief executive of California-based Borland Software, in an interview to Executive Magazine .
Fuller compares India and China in terms of their inexhaustible human resources, costs, their IT and IT-enabled services industries, their telecom infrastructure, and the pace of development in these areas.
China wins hands down over India in its abilities to attract state-of-the-art technology, to learn quickly from its competitors' mistakes and to provide infrastructure and train workers for the IT and IT-enabled services.
China also has lower costs than India's, but that advantage is increasingly waning because of the two countries' inexhaustible human resources, says Fuller.
India wins over China in terms of a huge English-speaking workforce that has created a formidable western-style IT and IT-enabled services industry, but China is catching up so fast that it is now only 3-5 years away.
"China has said that every Chinese will be speaking English within 20 years; they have made big strides," he says.
Fuller cites China's big success in implementing wireless technology in a very short time to make a case for its formidable ability to take on competition from countries far ahead of it.
"They were so far behind (in telecom infrastructure) that they said: "We are not going to lay copper wire all over China. We are going to go wireless. So they are closing the gap (with India). They are three to five years away."
India's big advantage over China is that it is catering to an increasing number of global services industries.
"We see more and more services going to India, the complete service, everything from consulting services to a full customer centre where you have your phone systems set up with people answering them. It is all tied together. Having been established for a while, the Indians have a methodology and a process that is very familiar to those of us in the Western world. China has not really used that and is just now beginning to do it."
Fuller, however, warns India that its processes and methodologies are sliding into obsolescence, whereas China is learning from its neighbour and introducing the newest technologies.
He also expressed his worries over the US educational system of training America's future competitors abroad. "We have an amazing educational system... head and shoulders above anywhere else. The unfortunate part of that is that while it attracts talent from all over the world..., most graduates with engineering degrees are foreign nationals and they don't stay here. One of our biggest exports is the education of our competitors."