A Buyer's Guide to Offshore Outsourcing

A Buyer's Guide to Offshore Outsourcing

Wondering where to send your call centres, application development and QA testing? Check the map for a worldwide comparison of prices, risks and other critical considerations.

CHINA: Up-and-comer.

Geopolitical risk.

English proficiency.

Average programmer salary: ($US8952/year)Infrastructure: Fair. Best in software centres.

Pros: Think India 10 years ago - low-cost workers and lots of them. China is currently experiencing the opposite of brain drain: the number of IT professionals returning to the country is increasing.

Cons: Multinationals are eating up the labour supply. Not the best option for enterprise customers seeking to outsource development or maintenance - poor English skills, lack of exposure to Western business culture, shaky foreign relations and immaturity of processes all pose risks.

Insider tip: China could be a better place to outsource in five years.


Goepolitical risk.

English proficiency.

Average programmer salary: ($US11,124/year)Infrastructure: Fair. Solid infrastructure. The government monopoly continues to tack on costly IT and telecom tariffs, but the sector is going through liberalisation.

Pros: A decent supply of customer-service-oriented, low-cost tech talent along with government support make Thailand attractive.

Cons: Labour demand could outstrip supply; the Thai educational system is still geared toward the traditional, agrarian economy, and the grass is greener for programmers overseas.

Insider tip: Thai programmers are a bit relaxed and may not respond well to pressure tactics. But they are excellent at meeting exacting specs if you are precise and direct. Thailand also attracts a lot of foreign IT talent who get a big bang for their buck in Bangkok.


Geopolitical risk.

English proficiency.

Average programmer salary: ($US33,504/year)Infrastructure: GoodPros: Top-notch IT and telecom infrastructure (the most wired country in the world), visionary government with designs on becoming a global IT hub and a highly Westernised culture.

Cons: Skilled IT workers are scarce here and demand top Singapore dollar.

Insider tip: Even Singaporean companies are increasingly outsourcing work to India and China.

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