KOCHI: Kochi’s Infopark has posted a 30 per cent jump in the number of new companies operating under its wings, at a time the state capital’s Technopark more or less stagnated. Experts say the IT park in the commercial capital benefitted from comparatively less space constraints and better infrastructure, and that the scenario might change in the coming years.
According to the Kerala Economic Review, released last week, the number of companies at Infopark shot up by 126 to 546 in 2021-2022, from 420 in 2020-21. Over the same period, Technopark — the country’s first and state’s showpiece IT park — added just five new companies, from 460 to 465, posting a measly growth of just over 1 per cent.
Infopark’s export revenue soared 49.12 per cent to Rs 8,500 crore in 2021-22 from Rs 5,700 crore in 2020-21. Technopark grew its export revenue 9.39 per cent to Rs 9,300 crore from Rs 8,501 crore in the same period. Infopark also recorded faster growth in terms of jobs. The total number of people working at the Kochi park grew from 51,000 to 63,600, an addition of 12,600 new jobs (24.70 per cent), whereas Technopark managed to add just 1,000 new jobs, from 63,000 to 64,000.
“There are space constraints at Technopark. That could be hampering its growth,” said V K Mathews, founder chairman of IBS Software Services, which has a big operation in Technopark and is in the process of setting up its campus at Infopark. “Infopark, on the other hand, has a lot of space available and its infrastructure has improved,” he said. IBS has a fully built-up campus of 3,25,000 sqft at Infopark.
‘Infopark has enough space for new offices’
“It will be occupied in the coming three months,” Mathew said. According to Robin Alex Panicker, chief product officer at Finotes, if the number of companies at the Kinfra Park is also taken into consideration, the total number of IT companies in Thiruvananthapuram is 470 employing around 70,000 people.
As per the Economic Review, TCS alone, which has occupied 36.83 acres in the Kinfra Park in the state capital, employs 10,000 people. Sreekumar V, centre head of Tata Elxsi and secretary of Group of Technology Companies (GTE CH), said Infopark has enough built-up space for new offices.
“However, policywise everything is the same. The disparity came into being in the last three to four years. But the scenario might change in the coming years,” he said. Last year was big for Infopark with new companies, such as IBM, launching operations.
The construction of 50,000 sqft of space by Sunya Ek (media system) was completed. Cognizant Technology Solution completed another three floors and 1,000 seats are ready. Last year, the IT park also received approval for setting up a 3.50 lakh sqft building in its first phase. While a four-lane road to Kochi Infopark phase II may soon become a reality, work on the second phase of Kochi Metro Rail to its campus in Kakkanad is also expected to commence soon.
“Many new companies are coming to Infopark. A majority of them as MSME s that have 10-50 seats. What we are seeing today at Infopark is something that we witnessed at Technopark some 20 years ago. When it started out, Technopark didn’t have big companies. That happened some 10 years later,” S R Nair, serial entrepreneur and mentor of startups, said.
“Big companies started to trickle in, but Technopark’s growth gathered pace when private players got involved. The same thing is happening with Infopark now. We are also seeing more and more companies moving into Infopark in order to attract a skilled workforce,” he added.