High Technology's New Frontier

CBS News Chief Foreign correspondent Lara Logan reports on India's high tech allure in part one of a special series India: Land of Contrasts.


It may not look like the new frontier in the high tech revolution. But in the ancient rural villages of southern India, amidst the chaos of the crowded streets, is a bold new world that's turned India into a technology mecca, reports CBS News correspondent Lara Logan.

Cities like Bangalore are drawing big name international companies — and creating a few of their own like India's software giant Infosys.

Infosys CFO Mohandas Pai says his company has seen extraordinary growth, going from 500 to 50,000 employees in just 12 years.

"I remember reading when I was a young boy that people in the West told young people, 'Go West, young man or young lady.' Now it's 'Go East,'" says Pai.

Corporations like Infosys recognized that the key to luring foreign investors — and workers — to come east was to create companies on a par with any in the west.

With more than 40 office buildings, two gyms, basketball courts, a supermarket and its own bank, Infosys looks more like a resort spa than a company headquarters.

"We had the Japanese prime minister play golf here," says Pai, pointing out the company's pitching range.

Along with thousands of Indians who've traded in jobs overseas to come home, you may be surprised to learn who else is being drawn to India's answer to Silicon Valley. An increasing number of young Americans from elite U.S. colleges are coming to India to work for companies like Infosys, which has the world's second-largest software industry. They say in India, they get experience and opportunities they simply couldn't match at home.

Winnie Hsia set her sights on India as soon as she graduated from New York University and got a marketing job at Infosys.

"There's so much opportunity for you here ... that you couldn't even imagine sitting in a cubicle in Manhattan or Chicago at the end of the day," says Hsia.

Young Americans in India are working hard and living well. They may not always earn as much as they would in the U.S., but here, the cost of living is much lower. If they really wanted to, they could eat three meals a day for $1. It's a huge cultural adjustment, but the thrill of adventure is part of the allure.

"I think about that saying they say about New York," Hsia says. "You know, 'If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.' I sort of feel that way about India — like, if you can handle India, you can handle anywhere."

Erik Simonsen is another American who's learning to handle India. He gave up his job in the U.S. to work for an investment banking firm in India's capital, Delhi.

"Things are growing so fast that they're looking for anybody that can carry responsibility," says Simonsen.

And responsibility has come to him fast. He says he has already jumped a step on the corporate ladder just by coming to India.

Pai says Americans should "come to India" because "the future is here." It's a future that appears to promise great opportunities for Americans willing to make the journey.
  • Jessica Goldman

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