ad info

TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards


about Asia Buzz  |  more Asia Buzz

Subcontinental Drift: The Original Cybercity
What Mahathir and Richard Li can learn from Bangalore

April 27, 2000
Web posted at 4 p.m. Hong Kong time, 4 a.m. EDT

I write this from Bangalore, aka Silicon Valley East, the city many Asian governments want to recreate on their own soil. As projects to build high-tech cybercities proliferate across the region -- from Malaysia's Cyberjaya to Hong Kong's CyberPort -- delegations from every Asian country are making tracks to Bangalore to understand what makes this place tick.

Subcontinental Drift: Strategic Redeployment
How Delhi can show it wants peace in Kashmir
- Thursday, April 20, 2000

Subcontinental Drift: Crooked Cricket
And how the Gentleman's Game can be saved
- Thursday, April 13, 2000

Subcontinental Drift: Win-Win Verdict
Judge Jafri spared Sharif's life--and Musharraf's career
- Thursday, April 6, 2000

Subcontinental Drift: Guest of Dishonor
General Musharraf probably wishes he had stayed home
- Thursday, March 30, 2000

Subcontinental Drift: The Final Straw
The slaughter of Sikhs takes Kashmir to the brink
- Thursday, March 23, 2000

Subcontinental Drift: Small Mercies
What Clinton can expect from his trip
- Thursday, March 16, 2000

Subcontinental Drift: The Folly of Fighting
Why an Indo-Pakistani war won't solve the Kashmir problem
- Thursday, Mar. 9, 2000

The story behind today's news from the editors of Asiaweek

From Our Correspondent
Personal perspectives on the news
Tick? Make that thump. The technology buzz here is so loud, it's hard to hear yourself think. On a 10-minute drive through town yesterday, I counted 25 billboards advertising dotcom companies and services -- and that doesn't include the Nokia dealer pitching a cut-rate cellular phone as ALMOST AS ATTRACTIVE AS A DOTCOM JOB. The lunchtime crowd at downtown restaurants is made up mainly of twentysomething software programmers, all bearing the ultimate symbol of nerdhood: an ID card dangling from the neck by a colorful ribbon.

The Subcontinental Drift message board -- sound-off about the news in South Asia to TIME
This is the atmosphere Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Hong Kong businessman Richard Li want to replicate, in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, respectively. Bangalore took nearly two decades to get to this place, but Mahathir and Li are hoping that, by spending billions of dollars on infrastructure development, they can cover that ground in a couple of years. Can it be done? I don't think so.

Cyberjaya and CyberPort will undoubtedly have the most sophisticated wired offices and telecommunications facilities money can buy. But creating a cybercity is not just about office space and phone lines. Bangalore started out with an advantage neither KL nor Hong Kong enjoy: a high standard of education among the local population. There are dozens of engineering colleges within half a day's drive from the city, churning out thousands of graduates who form the backbone of the technology industry. Scores of software-training schools supply the worker ants. Many of the biggest R. and D. labs of the Indian military establishment are clustered around the city, forming a handy source for middle and senior managers.

It's conceivable that KL and Hong Kong will simply buy the technology talent they need -- from Bangalore, if necessary. But they will need more than engineers. "Lawyers, advertising agencies and recruiting firms have all developed skills and services specific to the technology industry," says software entrepreneur Ashok Soota. "This is the kind of 'soft' infrastructure you need in order to attract and nurture startup companies."

Bangalore's journalists are more tech-savvy than the norm. Their newspapers devote daily pages (complete with gossip columns!) to the industry. Even providers of such mundane services as office space and supplies are tuned to the needs of technology companies. Take Soota's startup, MindTree Consulting, which develops e-commerce software for dotcom companies. Last year, when the founders were still polishing their business plan, they were sought out by real-estate developers, offering brand new offices in exchange for stock options -- this, remember, from a company that hadn't yet begun to do business! An office equipment supplier offered a similar deal: furniture for options.

In other words, nearly everyone is contributing to -- and profiting from -- the tech revolution. Even folks who don't work for startups have a sophisticated appreciation of technology. "What we have here is not just a tech industry -- it's a community," says Subroto Bagchi, co-founder of MindTree. And communities can't be bought, they evolve. That's something Mahathir and Li would do well to keep in mind.

Sound-off about the news in South Asia to TIME
Write to TIME at
Search for recent Asia Buzz

TIME Asia home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN


Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.