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Nokia Ventures Out to New Delhi

Where others see low-cost production, Nokia sees opportunity. The mobile phone giant's venture capital arm, Nokia Venture Partners (NVP), has opened an office in New Delhi, India, to scout for new early-stage investments.

"We plan on financing several Indian startups in the software, services, communications and semiconductor sectors," Gina Bauman, a Nokia Venture Partners spokeswoman told internetnews.com. "In addition, by opening the India office, we are able to help our current portfolio companies in their business development and outsourcing efforts."

In May, NVP pumped $10 million in second-round financing into Nevis Networks, a California startup developing enterprise security software at its Pune, India, research and development center.

NVP has been mulling an Asia-Pacific office since 2001, when it closed its second fund. The India office will also oversee the firm's Asia-Pacific investments, which include early-stage companies in China, Japan and South Korea.

"Our intent from the beginning was to build a global venture fund," Bauman said. "The new office is a continuation of that plan. We believe that we need to operate globally. The business of technology is increasingly a global phenomenon, and we need to participate on all major continents."

Sunjit Banerjee, a member of NVP's team, will lead the New Delhi office.

"India is an untapped resource for quality venture deals," Banerjee said in a statement.

In addition to Nevis Networks, he has invested in and advised several Indian IT companies, including Atrenta and BayPackets. He will split time between NVP's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., and New Delhi.

To be sure, most of the IT news out of India in the last year has revolved around outsourcing. With its skilled, English-speaking workforce and lower wages, the company has become a outsourcing hub for U.S. financial and telecom companies that have sent much of their call-center work there.

More recently, there's been a shift of programming jobs to India and other countries, including China and Russia. The practice of offshoring these tasks has caused an outcry from IT workers and some unions concerned with the loss of well-paying jobs in the United States.

Opponents of offshoring have floated several proposals to clamp down on the trend, while proponents warn that isolationism could be more harmful to the U.S. economy.