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Mayor of London opens Bangalore office to strengthen links with Indian businesses

City of London’s office in India’s tech hub aims to promote Indian investment and IT jobs in UK capital

London wants to attract more investment from Indian businesses and has opened an office in the country’s tech hub of Bangalore to make it easier for Indian companies to get established or grow in London.

The initiative comes as Indian IT services company Wipro has announced a new office in London. Wipro’s latest London investment, its third in the UK capital, will add 13,000ft2 to its existing operation, which employs 1,800 people.

The mayor of London agency, London & Partners, has revealed that Indian businesses, mainly in the tech sector, have created 400 jobs in London this year.

Mayor Sadiq Khan is currently in Bangalore with tech businesses from London’s International Business Programme to try to increase trade between the two countries. The delegation was in Mumbai and Delhi earlier this week.  

India is the second biggest foreign investor into London, creating 4,500 jobs in the capital over the past 10 years, second only to the US, according to London & Partners.

It said 47% of all investment projects from India in the past 10 years have been in the technology sector. Figures show that in 2016, London’s tech sector was four times more likely than the business services or financial services sectors to receive foreign direct investment from India.

David Slater, director of international trade and investment at London & Partners, said: “Our decision to open a new office in Bangalore will help us reach key decision-makers in India and support our continued drive to help Indian businesses expand and internationalise in London.” 

According to research of 45 global cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Bangalore has the best environment for businesses to transform digitally. Mumbai and New Delhi were also ranked in the top four locations.

“India is a market with a long history of trading links to the UK and London in particular,” said Slater. “Wipro’s expansion in the capital offers further proof that London remains an attractive destination for Indian businesses.

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Slater said the UK’s decision to leave the EU has not diminished this. “The fundamental strengths that have made London a leading global destination for Indian businesses have not changed following the EU referendum vote and London remains open to talent and investment from all over the world,” he said. 

Rajan Kohli, global head at Wipro Digital, said: “Our latest Wipro Digital pod in London is a significant milestone in our continued growth journey, helping to attract great design and engineering talent to serve clients in the UK and Europe.”

Peter Schumacher, CEO at business consultancy the Value Leadership Group, described strengthening ties between London and Bangalore as forward-looking. “This reflects the synergies that can be developed across multiple business and technology areas,” he said.

“Silicon Valley-based companies have developed enormous competitive advantages by leading in the development of the Bangalore talent and technology cluster. By helping London-based companies copy this playbook, the City of London will become an even more important global technology hub. London-based fintech companies are also competing for talent in Bangalore against New York City-based firms.”

With the UK planning to negotiate a new trade deal with India when it leaves the EU, there could be an influx of Indian IT professionals to the UK as part of any agreement, and London would be the main destinations for these workers.

Speaking in London recently, India’s high commissioner to the UK, YK Sinha, said that any future trade agreement between the UK and India – the world’s sixth biggest economy – will require the UK to relax rules on the movement of Indian professionals to work in the country.

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