India helps US

India’s Information Technology industry should start hiring in the US to help in its economic recovery as the US is always going to be its biggest market, the industry association’s head has suggested.

The restrictions on H18 visas in the US “absolutely is a concern,” Pramod Bhasin, president and chief executive of outsourcing from Genpact and the new chairman of the National Association of Software and Services Companies ( NASSCOM ) said in an interview with Forbes Asia.

“We have met the concerned people in Washington and expressed our views. Any abuse of the visa system must be stopped, and Nasscom will help to do that”, he said.

“That said, I believe we should be hiring in the US and thereby participate in its economic recovery,” Bhasin was quoted as saying. “Several of our companies are already looking to create employment in the US and it is the ideal time to get the best talent”.

Asked about the Nasscom’s strategy to address the protectionist wave in the US, Bhasin said there’s a lot of protectionist noise today, but the Indian industry “should respond to the reality, not the rhetoric”.

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Drop in Satyam’s profits

Fraud-hit Satyam Computer Services Limited’s annual revenue appears to be about $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion, three sources who have analyzed data provided by the outsourcing firm to bidders said on Thursday.

The number is sharply lower than the $2.14 billion the Indian company had reported for the fiscal year to March 2008, before the revelation of India’s biggest corporate fraud.

“We have analyzed the data and feel that this is the revenue level for the firm”, said one source who declined to be named as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Satyam was plunged into crisis on January 7 when its founder quit as chairman, saying profits had been falsified for years, revenues overstated and more than $1 billion in cash and equivalents did not exist.

A government-appointed board tasked with rescuing the firm decided to sell a controlling stake in the firm, once ranked as India’s fourth-largest outsourcer and appointed Goldman Sachs and Indian investment bank Avendus to advise it.

The sources said they were still assessing the profitability of Satyam ahead of finalizing bids for a 51 per cent stake.

Bids will be submitted and opened on April 13, and Satyam has said a winner can be announced the same day.

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200 million hits at Facebook

Five years after it was founded in a Harvard dorm room, the online social networking site Facebook has registered its 200 millionth user, the site confirmed on Thursday.

“Growing rapidly to 200 million users is a really good start, but we have always known that in order for Facebook to help people represent everything that is happening in their world, everyone needs to have a voice”, said Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“This is why we are working hard to build a service that everyone, everywhere can use, wheteher they are a person, a company, a President or an organization working for a change”.

The company is considered to be the largest social networking site on the Internet, dwarfing the 130 million members affiliated with rival site MySpace.com.

Facebook says that 100 million users visit the site everyday, and users have an average of  120 “friends” on their networks. The service is available in 40 languages, with 70 per cent of its users outside the United States.

Facebook is also one of the largest privately-held companies active on the internet and has reportedly repeatedly rebuffed buyout offers from the web giants like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.

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