Challenges of India, the Software Superpower
The Japanese Information Technology industry is attracting great attention from Indian industry. According to them, the "Unexplored land-Japan" is also a prospective market. Young entrepreneurs of the world looking forward to being successful in Japan are moving to Tokyo.
On the 8th floor of a building quite near to JR Ebisu station, behind the doors is a software development company with approximately 50 Japanese engineers. And situated in one corner of the same is the "Office" of Mr. Hitesh Asher (37) from India.
"Welcome. I am using a table as my office in my friend's company."
He speaks Japanese quite smoothly. This is the Japanese branch of "Unikaihatsu Software" a Japanese software development company. For the president, Mr. Asher, this is the invaluable "Tokyo Base".
They undertake software development projects, etc. of sales, inventory management systems from Japanese companies. Around 10 employees that can speak Japanese carry out sales and high level design by going to the clients location situated in various parts of Japan, supported by approximately 50 engineers from the head office based in Mumbai, where the software is developed. A high level of technology at half the development cost. Mr. Asher is taking the front as a leader.
Born in a middle-class family in the suburbs of Mumbai. Father was a manager of mango plantation. He had great interest in mathematics and that helped him to become a technologist.
The turning point in his life was 22 years ago, when he heard the experience of an engineer working in a major electric-appliance maker of Japan who was visiting his school. Japan, after its defeat in the war has shown an astounding recovery, producing state-of-the-art electrical appliances like color televisions, etc. one after the other. These people from the Far East are so polite, kind…. This youth of 15 years of age was very excited. "I will test my strength in Japan someday." He chose Computer Science in University and even joined a Japanese language school.
After graduation, he joined Tata Consultancy Service (TCS), one of the biggest organizations of India and visited Japan for the first time in 1991, and spent 2 years working with Japanese people for the same company.
However, he started feeling increasingly lonely amongst the Japanese people who are very cautious with foreigners. So to adjust in the Japanese society he began communicating with his neighbors and colleagues with a positive approach. Though he was a vegetarian, he shared beef, chinese noodles etc. along with his Japanese colleagues in company canteen and gradually became friendly with them.
"Indian Software development has been mostly for America. But we want more work from Japan." In 1996, he left TCS and started his own software company in Mumbai with his younger brother. And based on the business records he got the opportunity to expand his business in Japan while building a network of Japanese connections. And on 9th September 2001, he setup a new office in Tokyo and from April of this year, he has been staying in Japan with his family. His wife Mrs. Anita Asher said beamingly, "I was very surprised when I heard that we will be shifting to Japan. But my husband wanted to take up this challenge. I think it is an adventure for me."
In 1990, the software development industry of India grew quite rapidly due to the orders received from Europe and America. Presently, it is the main export item. According to the [Indian IT Club] there are approximately 70 companies in Japan with a total of approximately 5000 engineers that are residing in Japan. From the point of view of the Indian industry Japan is still 'unexplored land'. Entrepreneurs like Mr. Asher are coming to Japan one after the other.
"The first thing in Japan is human relationship. Once trust is built, business or technology can be discussed. As per my experience, we cannot be defeated by any other company." Mr. Asher was brimming with confidence.