Executives of the Indian outsourcing giant Wipro love Lou Dobbs.
That's ironic because the CNN anchor's been a critic of the outsourcing of American jobs. But all that attention has turned out to be a good thing for Bangalore-based Wipro.
"Lou Dobbs, he's the best salesman of the Indian (technology) industry," Sudip Banerjee said Thursday. "He saves us millions of dollars in advertising costs. We love him."
Even negative spin regarding Wipro wound up benefiting the company and actually boosted Wipro's sales. That's according to Banerjee, president of enterprise solutions, in a talk Thursday to members of Minnesota's trade mission to India. The group later toured Wipro world headquarters in the Keonics Electronics City office park in Bangalore.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty took the tour, planted a tree outside the headquarters, and later talked about India's Essar Steel finalizing its purchase of Minnesota Steel, likely providing the capital needed to build a $1.6 billion plant on the Iron Range in northern Minnesota. Pawlenty met with Essar executives after the Wipro tour Thursday.
As for Wipro, Minnesota has a big connection to the company. Companies outsourcing work to Wipro include Best Buy, Target and Northwest Airlines.
"In the U.S., the largest number of Wipro employees are in Minneapolis," Banerjee said.
About 1,600 Wipro employees work in Minneapolis, a mix of American and Indian workers, out of 65,000 worldwide.
Banerjee said he expects Wipro to hit $4 billion in revenue this year, with 70 percent from the U.S. market.
While executives on the trade mission said they have a tough time finding engineers and other applicants with science backgrounds in Minnesota, Wipro hires one person for every 130 applicants, and the average age of employees is 26.
When Pawlenty asked Banerjee to comment on possible future shortages of talent globally, the Wipro president said around 500,000 engineers graduate annually in India.
"It's still expected that the talent pool will be the largest in the world for years to come," Banerjee said.