Thiruvananthapuram makes global list of 24 ‘out-of-the-box’ emerging tech locations

Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram were the only Indian cities to make the list.
For representational purpose. Peroorkada junction in Thiruvananthapuram | B P Deepu
For representational purpose. Peroorkada junction in Thiruvananthapuram | B P Deepu

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Thiruvananthapuram has been listed among 24 ‘out-of-the-box’ cities worldwide for future business and software development. The list was included in a report prepared by research firm BCI Global. 

The study was led by Josefien Glaudemans, a partner at Netherlands-based BCI Global. The 24 cities were selected from within three geographical areas: the Americas (US, Canada, Central and Latin America); EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa); and, APAC (Asia-Pacific, including India and China). 

Eight locations from each of the three geographies were listed. Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram were the only Indian cities to make the list.

To offer scalability, metropolitan areas with more than 1 million inhabitants were included in the report. It mandated that infrastructure, such as international airports, digital hubs, and highways, should be available or under development, and other firms should already conduct software and/or support activities there.

“When companies are considering new locations for their international expansion, well-known and more mature locations often come to mind. In discussion with clients, a team at BCI Global searched for ‘out-of-the-box’ locations and selected eight emerging locations each within the Americas, EMEA, and APAC,” the report stated.

“Kerala was not known for its business orientation. However, Thiruvananthapuram has 1.7 million inhabitants, a nice climate, a relatively good quality of life (especially for Indian standards), acceptable risks, and very attractive cost levels,” it said.  

‘Thiruvananthapuram on path to becoming tech hub’

BCI Global selected Kolkata for of its large labour pool, English-speaking skills, attractive cost levels, and lower labour market competition compared to other popular Indian cities. Traditionally, West Bengal was less business-oriented, but in 2022, it was identified as the easiest state do business in India, and multinational companies are currently building up their presence there.

The report noted that the landscape of tech and support centres is undergoing major changes driven by technology, globalisation, work-from-home, and the increasing need for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. No matter how appealing remote work is, physical locations are still required for most tech (software development) and support centres-shared services centres (SSCs), global business services (GBS), back offices, business process outsourcing (BPO), or call centres.

Anoop Ambika, CEO of Kerala Start-Up Mission, said Thiruvananthapuram is on the path to become a technology hub. 

“The city is a knowledge economy hub, with various world-class institutions, including Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, VSSC, IIST, IISER, and RGCB. Moreover, it has Technopark. It has the ecosystem for technology to grow. Above all, companies are shifting their base from tier-I cities to tier-II cities,” Anoop told TNIE. Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi were recently included in a list of 26 emerging startup hubs in the country. The two tier-2 cities have also become preferred destinations for future IT development due to their quality human resource and infrastructure, said a survey report published by Nasscom, in collaboration with Deloitte.

The survey encompassed 26 cities known as the ‘next wave of technology hubs’ and examined the emergence of vibrant tech hubs in various tier-2 cities, shedding light on the path of the technology industry’s growth. To qualify as ‘out of the box’, the BCI Global report mandated that locations must be non-conventional and emerging -- well-known, mature markets with intense labour competition are avoided. 

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