The flight of IBM Corp. and other technology companies from India in the mid-1970s provided Wipro Ltd. a vacuum to become one of the country’s leading information technology (IT) service providers, according to company chairman Azim Premji.
Mr. Premji described his company’s meteoric rise from ailing cooking oil producer to a diversified conglomerate worth more than $9 billion at a dinner meeting of the Georgia Indo-America Chamber of Commece (GIACC) in Norcross on May 22.
Wipro now is a global company with 60% of its exports going to North America where it has 15 offices in Canada and the U.S., including one in Atlanta.
During the dinner, Mr. Premji said that he took over the company’s management following his father’s death in the mid-1960s and diversified its operations beyond cooking oil into consumer care areas such as baby powder, lighting and soaps.
It was not until the 1970s, however, when the Indian government’s policies ran off IBM and other multinationals, that his company had the opportunity to expand in a major way into IT services. “I was in the right industry at the right time,” he said.
Today, Wipro Technologies, a vision of Wipro Ltd., is a top Indian provider of IT products and services. The division counts Cisco Corp., Compaq Computer Corp., Fujitsu Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp. among its clients.
Mr. Premji said that Wipro intends to strengthen his company’s Georgia operations perhaps even making Atlanta the company’s North American headquarters. “I think the perception now is that Atlanta is a good place to seriously consider for setting up an important office. We see a lot of potential for business here,” he told GlobalFax prior to his presentation, calling the city “progressive” in its efforts to entice and maintain high-tech industry.
He also lauded the efforts of the GIACC, affirming its role in promoting business relations between India and Georgia.