Corporate Diary

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Indian Internet companies Mercantila, TutorVista getfunding

Two India-based Internet companies Mercantila and TutorVista, catering mainly to customers in the United States, have received US$29.5 million funding from Lightspeed Ventures Partners.

While Mercantila, an online retail venture, has received US$22.5  million funding from LVP, TutorVista, an online tutoring company, has received US$7 million funding from the investors. TutorVista was set up in November 2005 to offer online tutoring. It received a first round of funding of US$2 million from Sequoia India in May 2006.

Lightspeed is looking for more Indian ventures to finance and May invest about US$100 million to US$150 million in India in the next
few years.

Reliance to carry FLAG far and wide

Reliance Communications is all set to expand FLAG Telecom’s global optic fibre network, as FLAG will build the world’s largest IP network over submarine cable systems, over the next 36 months. Called FLAG Next Generation Network (NGN), the project will cater to the telecom needs of over five billion customers across the globe.

FLAG Global Network would have the capability to carry 2.5 billion simultaneous voice calls, 300 million simultaneous webchats, 52 million simultaneous video chats and enabling 20 million students in educational institutions of India to offer e-learning simultaneously. On completion, FLAG Global Network would span over 1,15,000 km by December 2009 taking the total optic fibre assets of Reliance Communications Group to over 2,30,000 km.

New Cisco Academy launched at St Michael’s Foundation

Investment, Industry and IT Minister Austin Gatt has launched the first of a series of five new Cisco academies in Malta, at the St Michael’s Foundation.

The first Cisco academies in Malta were opened in 2002 at the Swatar Training Centre, the University of Malta and MCAST. Through these three academies, some 700 individuals have followed Cisco courses to date.

The Cisco Academy set up at St Michael’s is special, because the school took a brave and innovative step as a secondary school to integrate the IT Essentials curriculum in the full-time ICT curriculum taught at Forms III, IV, and V.

iLink creating Saturday university

iLink Systems Inc. launched a unique Saturday University program ( for all it employees in their offices spread across Bellevue (WA), Fairfax (VA) and Chennai (India).

A University calendar was published for the first trimester and it included an unprecedented 76 training hours in that period. Annualised, this works out to 28.5 training days per employee every year; well above the annual training provided to software employees in most organisations.

Subject matter for the training was spread over a wide variety of areas, predominantly based on the latest Microsoft Technologies, but also on building domain competence like business intelligence and soft-skills including communication and presentation skills. Training methodo-logies were also varied including formal training, in-house presen-tations, e-learning and self-study.

Global IT services spending to grow 8%
Global IT services spending is likely to increase at around 7-8 per cent over the medium term to $500 billion in 2007 from $470 billion in 2006.

According to a report by Icra, IT services spending is likely to be driven by strong forecast GDP growth of 3.5 per cent in the US, moderate increase in IT spending in the US, and strong growth in IT spending in emerging markets.

For Indian companies, growth is expected at around 28-30 per cent in the medium terms, driven more by reallocation of corporate budgets from internal to external spending rather than growth in aggregate IT spending.

Although communications products and services represent the largest single category of ICT spending in 2006 with $1.57 trillion, software is the fastest growing category with annual growth of 10 per cent.

Aptech opens training centre in Malaysia

Indian global learning solutions giant, Aptech Limited officially opened its maiden office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. At the launch, Aptech also announced the inauguration of a high-end training centre located at Antarabangsa, in the heart of the Golden Triangle in Kuala Lumpur.

Aptech initially plans to offer services & solutions to individuals, corporates and academic institutions in Malaysia and later address the client’s needs across South East Asia. Aptech has been operating in Malaysia in partnership with Human Resource Development Corporation (PSMB) and Cosmopoint since 2002.

Under this special partnership, Aptech has provided high end software development training to over 1000 IT graduates and has an excellent 98% post training job placement record.

The IT outsourcing wave has been driving India’s economic growth and India continues to dominate as the preferred provider for global e-learning solutions. In recent years, the escalating demand for e-learning and certification coupled with the lack of globally-recognised solution providers, has led Aptech to expand rapidly.

Open document format push

IBM Malaysia is taking strides to push the OpenDocument Format (ODF) concept into the public sector. These include educating the various Government agencies of the advantages of ODF, providing suggestions on the ODF migration paths, and helping in solving certain issues that crop up. Last year, Thailand, China and Japan were some of the nations to endorse a position paper from Harvard University that supports software based on open standards. And in June, the Thai government held a summit of many Asian nations which agreed to explore its adoption. India, the Philippines and Thailand are running pilot programs for ODF.

Research company Gartner has predicted that by 2010, ODF will be required by 50 per cent of the governments worldwide and 20 per cent of commercial organisations.

Satyam to set up 2,000 seat development centre in Malaysia

Satyam Computer Services, the country’s fourth largest software exporter, said it will set up a 2,000-seat software engineering global delivery campus in Malaysia.

The company would increase the headcount to 2,000 over the next four years as part of steps to strengthen foothold in Malaysia. The campus would serve as a major technological development and software support facility for its ASEAN, US and Middle-Eastern clients. The campus is in addition to the 100-seater global solution center (GSC) established about three years back.

The GDC would be established along with Malaysias Multimedia Development Corporation (MDEC), which oversees the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) initiative. The current staff strength of Satyam is 150 employees of which majority are Malaysians. It launched its first mass recruitment program for fresh graduates outside India in 2004.

Till date, more than 65 Malaysian engineering graduates have been trained by the organisation and absorbed as full time employees at the global solution center in Kuala Lumpur.

IT grants for United Voice and Prihatin

Those with learning disabilities can now converse more eloquently with a picture-to-speech communicator PDA.  The gadget is one of the technology-breaking projects funded by Samsung Digital Hope 2006.
The Samsung Digital Hope grant programme, which is into its fourth year, recently awarded US$620,000 to 16 organisations from South-East Asia and Australia. Two of the beneficiaries are from Malaysia.  They are Pertubuhan Prihatin Sosial Malaysia’s E-Community Technology Centre for Unemployed Youths, a recipient of the grant for the second consecutive year, and United Voice, which provides social, communication and leadership skills, and forums on issues related to people with learning disabilities.
Pertubuhan Prihatin Sosial Malaysia (Prihatin) was awarded RM255,000 while United Voice received RM34,000. 

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