The global economic meltdown impacted many of the clients of BT Frontline, which provides outsourcing services for the IT systems of docks and logistics companies. But its General Manager, Lawrence Low, is still satisfied with the company's performance amid the financial crisis and confident about its future.
China's service outsourcing industry, mostly about software outsourcing, bounced back in the second half of 2009 from a hard time of three months caused by shrinking demand from the global market, according to Yu Hengzhuang, vice president of Dalian Software Park.
"We have gained access to high-end market and recently entered the Middle East market, which more than offset the impact of the global downturn," Low said.
"Our business not only survived, it grew and thrived," Low said with a smile, keeping the exact figures as business secret.
Rapidly Developing Industry
The software outsourcing park in Dalian, the industrial hub in China, attracted 63 new clients in 2009, bringing the overall number of businesses in the park to more than 400, and the park's total sales are expected to top 20 billion yuan, up 32.9 percent year-on-year.
The sales of Dalian's software outsourcing business grew from 200 million yuan ($29.3 million) to more than 30 billion yuan in the past 10 years. A total of 700 companies are in the industry, including 300 joint ventures and more than 40 Fortune 500 companies.
In the first ten months, the industry's sales in Dalinman grew by 33 percent to 33.7 billion yuan and its export grew by 34 percent to $1.1 billion.
While Dalian has become a world famous hub of software outsourcing after Thomas Fridman compared it with Bangalore in India, another less known industrial hub with equally fast pace in east China's Jiangsu province, is taking shape.
The contract value of Jiangsu's software outsourcing industry reached $3.28 billion in the first 10 months of the year, a growth of 174 percent. The province has 2,470 companies in the industry, with 290,000 employees, according to statistics from the provincial department of commerce.
The provincial capital Nanjing's software outsourcing industry had a contract value of $2.1 billion in the first 11 months of the year, growing by 239 percent.
"The income of China's software industry, which software outsourcing takes a major part, has been growing by 38 percent annually and its revenue is expected to top one trillion yuan in 2010," said Hu Kunshan, vice chairman of China Software Industry Association.
China's software industry earned 757.3 billion yuan in 2008, and the figure is expected to reach 900 billion yuan in 2009.
The rapid development of outsourcing industry bears great significance in sustaining economic growth, restructuring economy, stabilizing export and boosting employment, said Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan during a visit to Dalian in November.
More than 60,000 people are working in the software outsourcing industry in Dalian.
China's outsourcing industry recruited 690,000 new employees, 460,000 of whom were college graduates, in the first 11 months of 2009, according to statistics released on a national conference on commerce.
China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security expects the outsourcing industry to create 1.2 million new jobs in five years, including one million jobs for college graduates.
At the end of September 2009, 1.42 million people were working in 8,060 outsourcing companies in China, said Qian Fangli, deputy head of the foreign investment department of the Ministry of Commerce.
The software outsourcing companies in China have enough programmers but lack mature project managers and decision makers, who are on the top of the talent pyramid, said Yu Hengzhuang, vice president of Dalian Software Park.
The gap in talent pool limited the size of such companies to less than 300 people, which is a human resource threshold to carry out core projects with high added value. "That's why Chinese companies are now the lowest ring of the world software outsourcing chain," Yu added.