While many US-based software companies seek to outsource their development processes to Asia, India-based IT consultancy MindTree has reversed the trend by announcing the opening of its first US development centre in Gainesville, Florida. The centre will create 400 jobs in the region's high-tech sector, and although MindTree has not revealed details regarding the salaries on offer, fDiMagazine was told that the average pay will be “whopping”.

MindTree has a presence in the US through its five sales offices, but its products have previously been developed overseas. The company’s executives say that their decision to establish a development operation in the US was made in response to demand from the company’s clients, many of which are headquartered in the country. “US companies are looking for the mix of offshore, nearshore and on-site. This way their needs can be addressed more efficiently,” said Scott Staples, president of US operations at MindTree.

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Data from greenfield investment monitor fDiMarkets shows that the number of projects established in the US software and IT sector by India-based companies increased by 45% in 2011. However, the number of new ventures by US companies in the Indian software and IT sector was still five times higher than the number of projects initiated in the same sector in the US by Indian firms.

According to Mr Staples, depending on the performance of its new operation in Gainsville, MindTree may consider opening further development centres outside of India in the future. “We want to use Gainesville as a template for all our future operations. Then we may consider places such as Latin America or eastern Europe,” he said.

Before making the decision to establish its first US operation in Gainesville, MindTree considered other US cities such as Birmingham, Alabama, and Greenville, South Carolina. Gainesville was selected on the merit of the city's talent pool, which is bolstered by the fact that one of the largest universities in the US – University of Florida – is located there.

“The university, the innovative economy and our absolute commitment to working with MindTree will ensure the company’s success here. All of these [factors] combined [helped] to win the project for us,” said Brent Christensen, president and CEO of the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce.