Hain Trade Mission Wins Top Indian Software Investment in Northern Ireland

Chennai, April 13th 2006: Secretary of State Peter Hain MP today announced that Indian software development company Polaris Software Lab will open an office in Belfast, creating up to 158 jobs over the next three years.

Making the announcement in Chennai on the final day of his five-day business mission to India, Mr Hain said Polaris will establish a banking and financial application certification centre in Belfast. Targeting the banking and financial services sector, the centre will be backed by financial assistance from Invest Northern Ireland.

Mr Hain said: “This is a landmark investment.  It is exactly the type of investment we need to signal a transformation of Northern Ireland’s economy down the knowledge-based route. This is the first green field software investment by an Indian technology company on the island of Ireland.  It sends the strongest possible signal to other Indian technology companies seeking a location from which to access the huge European market, that Northern Ireland offers the best possible solution.

“Polaris is a world class company focused on becoming the global market leader in financial and banking software.  They decided to invest in Belfast primarily because of the availability of a highly educated labour pool.  This investment will substantially enhance Northern Ireland’s reputation as a European software centre of excellence, and its developing position in the global financial services industry.”

Bikash Mathur, Executive Vice President & Business Head, Polaris Europe said: “Belfast proves to be an ideal choice as, in addition to location advantage and significant cost benefit, it will serve as a near-shore centre & first choice of destination, for meeting the exacting requirements of European Banks. Another compelling reason for choosing Belfast for our operations is the academia here. IT and software development, being the key focus of the universities in Northern Ireland, the Belfast centre of software testing will chisel the local talent into experts, providing our existing and potential customers in Europe, specialized software testing services with faster response time and higher level of services.”

The Polaris investment in Belfast will involve three phases.  The first phase will create a Centre of Excellence, providing independent quality assurance testing for software written for customers by other suppliers.  The second phase will involve software development activities while the third phase will focus on the provision of round the clock technical support for clients in Europe.

At the end of the third phase, Belfast will be a fully fledged near shore software development centre and Mercury certified Centre of Excellence for Software Testing.