The Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing Industry: Diversity and Challenges in Asia

37 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2013

See all articles by Raja Mikael Mitra

Raja Mikael Mitra

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); World Bank

Date Written: September 1, 2013


Some countries and regions have been more successful than others in developing information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) services industries. India and the Philippines in particular have offered educated human resources at low cost, attractive fiscal incentives, and industrial parks although these factors alone do not explain the rapid growth of the industry there as other countries also had these strengths but failed to develop industries as rapidly. A wide range of factors driving and constraining industry development must be taken into account, namely human resources; financial, infrastructure, technology, legal, and regulatory developments; the roles of foreign companies, diasporas, and of indigenous entrepreneurs; the government; industry associations; civil society; production, trade, and knowledge networks; and the interplay of all these factors locally, nationally, and internationally. This analysis of IT-BPO industry developments in Asia points to continued expansion in domestic, regional, and global demand and supply. There is a need for timely, concerted efforts by key stakeholders to define strategies, programs, and projects to respond to opportunities and challenges at all levels. Experiences from Asian economies can offer lessons, but each situation has its own peculiarities. There is no single approach to developing an IT-BPO industry.

Keywords: information technology, business process outsourcing, software industry, offshoring, services, knowledge economy, India, ASEAN, Asia

JEL Classification: L8, O14, F1, F63I

Suggested Citation

Mitra, Raja Mikael, The Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing Industry: Diversity and Challenges in Asia (September 1, 2013). Asian Development Bank Economics Working Paper Series No. 365, Available at SSRN: or

Raja Mikael Mitra (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

World Bank ( email )

Washington, DC 20433
United States

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