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Japan's Rakuten announces innovation lab in India

Japan's Rakuten Symphony, part of e-commerce giant Rakuten, plans to establish a global innovation lab in Bengaluru, famously known as India's Silicon Valley, by early 2023. The company also plans to set up facilities for 6G infrastructure research and development there.

It expands on Rakuten Symphony's existing RAN lab in Bengaluru and Rakuten Cloud Innovation Lab in Tokyo. Together they will enable end-to-end testing of apps, part of Symworld.

Rakuten, which started Indian operations in 2014, is not the only Japanese company trying to tap Indian engineering talent.
 (Source: PriceMinister on Flickr CC2.0)
Rakuten, which started Indian operations in 2014, is not the only Japanese company trying to tap Indian engineering talent.
(Source: PriceMinister on Flickr CC2.0)

"Our operations around the world are powered by incredible Indian talent and creative innovation, so I am very proud to announce this additional investment with the establishment of our Global Innovation Lab and new engineering development facilities in Bengaluru," said Tareq Amin, Rakuten Symphony CEO.

Come together

The lab will be located within new engineering development facilities opening simultaneously to bring the entire Rakuten Symphony workforce under one roof.

The company has a presence in Bengaluru and Indore in India, and claims its employee base has grown to over 3,300 in less than a year. Rakuten Symphony is planning to further expand staffing in the domains of open RAN, cloud, automation, data and telecom standards.

"We look forward to fostering local talent and working with local Indian and global partners to promote the adoption of Open RAN technologies and empower global telecom operators to build and operate secure mobile networks," said Narendra Narayana, managing director at Rakuten Symphony India.

While the company is growing, sister company Rakuten Mobile announced a hiring freeze earlier in 2022 with only 250 employees managing a network covering 97% of Japan's population.

Tapping India's engineering talent

Rakuten, which started Indian operations in 2014, is not the only Japanese company trying to tap Indian engineering talent.

Mercari, an e-commerce company, is opening a center in Bengaluru with an initial investment of $380,000.

Fujitsu also announced a research hub in Bengaluru in April 2022. The Japanese technology company will be working with several Indian universities in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).


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Japan is facing a shortage of engineering talent while India has ample availability – and the market for IT skills has gone up considerably as companies accelerate digital transformation.

Various global companies, including Nokia, Hewlett Packard, and Ericsson have set up R&D centers here in India because of the availability of a workforce at affordable wages.

Indian engineers are also at the helm of technology majors, including Sundar Pichai at Google, Satya Nadella at Microsoft and Arvind Krishna at IBM, and have helped in raising the brand value of Indian engineers globally.

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— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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