Thursday, May 29, 2003
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By Anand Parthasarathy
The Anaheim, California, U.S.-based company overtook IBM in the technology training sector and became the global number, in 2001-02, when its revenues crossed half a billion dollars.
It set up shop in Delhi in December last as the minority partner in an 80:20 joint venture with the Shri Ram group and quickly acquired 100 corporate customers including the Union ministries of Commerce and Finance; Prasar Bharti and Delhi Metro Rail. This was the first instance where the U.S. player with a presence in 47 countries, participated in a joint venture with a local partner.
Ajay Kumar Sharma, President and CEO of New Horizons India Ltd, told The Hindu in a special briefing today that the company's gameplan in this country involved an investment of Rs. 200 crores spread over three years and the establishment of around 250 training centres: 40 of them directly controlled and the rest franchised operations. The first 60 of these centres were planned in 2003, including 20 in all the main South Indian towns. Pankil Kumar Shah, Associate Vice President for the South Zone, explained that New Horizons' second centre was being set up in Bangalore this month.
Mr. Sharma added that while corporate training accounted for four-fifths of its business worldwide, the Indian arm of New Horizons was aiming to equally tap the corporate and consumer markets.
For the self-financed sector the company would shortly announce three tiers of training: vendor-authorised training on products of Oracle, Adobe, Red Hat, Sun and Microsoft, Macromedia and others; long term employment-oriented IT training at undergraduate and post graduate levels and affordable technology modules for knowledge seekers. It will also tap the huge resource of over 1,200 subjects in the parent company's e-learning repertoire.
The infrastructure that New Horizons was setting up in the major metros would also be used to create virtual classrooms and "online live'' learning sessions aimed at bridging distance barriers.
What added value would the new venture hold out to the Indian consumer who is already buffeted by a blitz of IT training offers by established domestic players who have been finding the going quite difficult in the last fiscal year?
New Horizons banks on its global image as a dependable trainer as well as new features like its `life-long continuum' mantra: a permanent help desk to assist students in contacting teachers even outside the classroom and post-training support to update skills.
The company has set up its internal "university'' to train faculty to uniform standards, around the world.
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