Freeborders, a US-based IT services vendor that specializes in providing low-cost software support from centers in China, has won a landmark deal with online travel firm Expedia.
Freeborders will set up an applications development center for Expedia in China with plans to recruit an additional 400 staff to work on the account over the next four years. Although the size of the deal has not been disclosed, Freeborders boss Jean Cholka said that it was the biggest ever application development and maintenance contract to be delivered out of China.
Pierre Samec, chief technology officer at Expedia, said the attraction of working with a third-party services provider rather than setting up its own development center in China is that it gives it immediate access to the top talent in the region.
Freeborders is one of a growing number of US-based companies, which also includes San Ramon, California-based Achievo and Wakefield, Massachusetts-based DarwinSuzsoft, that are hoping to replicate the success that Indian services exporters have enjoyed during the last five years by focusing on the emerging Chinese market.
Cholka cited figures which claimed that some 352,000 engineers will graduate from Chinese universities this year, ahead of 184,000 in India and 84,000 in the US.
It also said that a nearly equal number of Chinese students (350,000) are graduating with technology-related degrees, nearly 25% more than produced by colleges and universities in India. However, the big advantage for India is that the vast majority of these graduates are fluent English-speakers.
Freeborders has grown rapidly since winning $20m in expansion capital from backers including Internet Capital Group and TAL Investments. The company is in the process of expanding its 52,000 sq ft facility in Shenzhen which provides applications and business process outsourcing services to clients in North America.