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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Checkout the global hotspots

1. Ahmedabad, India

Population: 5.1 million

Hot industries: Information technology, construction

What's new: India's western state of Gujarat prides itself on being a state of entrepreneurs, many of whom gravitate to Ahmedabad, its commercial capital. Although the first wave of India's IT boom passed Gujarat by, the state and its capital have become more aggressive about recruiting businesses. Ahmedabad isn't plagued by frequent blackouts like Hyderabad or traffic jams like Mumbai. And the city has room to grow, as well as several special economic zones.

Who's doing business here: Software developers and IT firms, as well as suppliers for the growing construction industry. "Ahmedabad has a good supply of fresh talent who prefer to stay close to family," which keeps attrition low, says Lakshmikant Goenka, co-founder of Dolcera, a research and consulting start-up. The company is based in San Mateo, California, and has an Ahmedabad office.

2. Kolkata, India

Population: 14.3 million

Hot industries: Information technology, construction

What's new: Until the mid-1990s, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) was synonymous with militant trade unions, strikes, and lockouts. In recent years, however, city officials have become staunchly pro-business. Kolkata, capital of the Communist-led state of West Bengal, is cutting red tape and investing in infrastructure, including a deep sea port modeled after Shanghai's. Kolkata's IT sector is growing 70 percent a year, twice the national average. And Rajarat, a veritable IT township in the city's suburbs, is emerging as a computer-engineering hub similar to Bangalore.

Who's doing business here: IBM has four offices here. Quaker Chemicals, based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, has a Kolkata office as well.

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