India Big four outsourcers all have people problems
Also: China taikonaut moon plans; Singapore's Temasek to stay clear of crypto; India ponders ban on for-profit .IN sales; and more.
APAC in brief India's big four services giants are doing it tough, with Wipro and HCL deferring pay reviews and rises, Infosys rumored to have done the same, and TCS again postponing onboarding for workers to whom it's promised jobs
In its first quarter FY24 earnings press conference, Wipro announced [VIDEO] it would be delaying its wage hike cycle until the third quarter. Its last salary hike occurred in September of last year. The usual quarterly promotions are, however, proceeding as normal.
Junior level employees at Wipro will receive payouts at 80 percent of the variable pay for Q1. Managers and above will receive payouts per their business unit's performance, said a Wipro exec.
In February, Wipro backed out of entry-level hiring offers – offering a 46 percent salary cut in exchange for immediate work placement, or an ambiguous offer of "sometime." Similarly, HCL Technologies CEO C. Vijayakumar said his company was also deferring annual reviews.
"This year, we have made a decision to skip the compensation review, starting with the management layer, which is E4+, and also defer for junior to mid-level people by a quarter, which is E3 and below levels. While we do this, we will continue to closely monitor the industry trends and as appropriate, take measures as required," said the CEO in HCL's Q1 2024 earnings call.
HCL has lowered its head count quarter-on-quarter by over 2,500. It has chosen not to replace departed staff.
And an exclusive from news website Moneycontrol reported last Wednesday that Infosys has deferred salary hikes for employees below senior management level that would typically be rolled out in the June quarter. Infosys has allegedly given no update as to when pay raises will resume.
TCS, which was found to be in the middle of a recruitment scandal that resulted in the firing of four execs who gave preferential treatment to select recruitment firms, has decided it will go ahead with its wage hikes.
"Towards driving a more performance-focused work culture, we rolled out salary increases of 8 percent to 10 percent for high performers and 12 percent to 15 percent for exceptional performers following our annual compensation review," said TCS head of HR Milind Lakkad, in an earnings call.
CEO K. Krithivasan said the firm would also continue to hire freshers, including in the current quarter.
However, according to a complaint filed with the Ministry of Labour and Employment Government of India by labor union Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES) and viewed by The Register, TCS has unexpectedly delayed the onboarding of lateral hires by a period of three months – leaving some who have already resigned from previous roles without income for this period of time.
China plans two-shot moonshot
China last week outlined how it plans to put Taikonauts on the Moon before 2030.
The plan is mostly familiar: send astronauts into lunar orbit, then have them descend to the surface in a lander, conduct a spot of exploration and sample collection, then reverse.
But China's added a twist by launching the lander on its own rocket ahead of the crewed ship. Taikonauts will therefore find the lander waiting for them around Luna and rendezvous with it before descending to check out Earth's natural satellite.
Reports in state-run media state China is working on a new booster – the Long March 10 – for the mission, plus its lander, lunar rover, and Moon suits.
Details of how many Taikonauts will travel were not discussed.
– Simon Sharwood
Singapore's sovereign wealth fund to stay away from cryptocurrency
The chief investment officer of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, Temasek, has said it will not seek investments in cryptocurrency companies at this time.
Rohit Sipahimalani told CNBC that it would be too difficult considering the "regulatory uncertainty" surrounding the alternacash.
Temasek previously invested $210 million in FTX International and $65 million in FTX US, for which it later expressed regret.
Last week, the fund reported a $6 billion net loss for the year through March, shrinking its total portfolio to $287 billion.
India ponders ban on for-profit sale of .IN domains
India's National Internet Exchange (NIXI), which administers .IN – the top-level domain for India – has proposed [PDF] changes to its rules that would prevent registrants of domain names for reselling them at substantial profits.
NIXI has noted that its current T&Cs prevent registrars, or their resellers, from "squatting, grabbing, hoarding, infringement, auctioning, drop catch or selling of the .IN domain names at a exceptionally higher price than the published MRP, they are regularly charging from the public."
But that leaves a loophole for individual registrants to resell domains for which they hold rights at high price.
NIXI proposes that be … er … nixed.
– Simon Sharwood
Japanese space agency blows up an engine
The The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's attempts to figure out what caused its Epsilon rocket to fail in October 2022 have suffered a setback, after tests of a revised engine design failed on July 14.
JAXA has had a rotten run of recent luck, with its two most recent launches failing.
– Simon Sharwood
In other news …
Our coverage last week included US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen taking a swing at resetting US-China relations.
Those talks come amid a tit-for-tat exchange of sanctions that last week saw server-maker Inspur warn investors hard times are ahead.
Meanwhile it emerges that China is trying to be the world leader in general AI research – and pretty much succeeding.
The Middle Kingdom laid out its rules for how AI is supposed to work – with an emphasis on protecting people.
Also finding a new passion for human rights in Chinese battery maker CATL, which has joined a UN working group on sustainability and global responsibility, while it fends off accusations of forced labor.
Intel is selling AI accelerator chips to China – albeit somewhat nobbled ones, to comply with export restrictions.
And in case you're not afraid enough of AI, Indian developer replaced its customer service operators with computers – with worryingly good results.
India's hopes too build up domestic semiconductor manufacturing suffered a setback – though the minister claimed otherwise – when Foxconn pulled out of a joint venture with mining and energy conglomerate Vedanta.
Within days, though, news emerged that Foxconn was in talks with other partners to build chip fabs in India.
India also declared war on the online gambling sector, with a whopping great tax on the proceeds.
Speaking of India, its entry in the 21st century space race, Chandrayaan-3, is ready to head to the Moon.
Also on the starting block is Japan's Moon Sniper, also headed for our natural satellite with scientific goodies aboard. Which will get there first? ®