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Adrian Wooldridge

Globalization’s Poster Child Is Facing Political Headwinds

The Indian tech giant that inspired how we looked at global business is now grappling with a very different reality. 

Infosys corporate headquarters

Infosys corporate headquarters

Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg

The Infosys campus in Bengaluru looks as if it is made from bits of from the developed world that have been flat-packed to India and then lovingly reassembled. The predominant theme is Silicon Valley bland: low-slung office buildings, well-maintained gardens, gyms, yoga studios and putting greens, even a resort-size swimming pool. But there are also echoes of iconic buildings such as the Sydney Opera House, the Louvre pyramid and St. Peter’s Basilica. Anybody who wanted to write the history of capitalism through the medium of corporate headquarters— and it’s as good a way of doing the job as any — might be advised to open the chapter on the recent age of globalization with this campus. 

Infosys Ltd. was founded in 1981 by seven Indian entrepreneurs with 10,000 rupees (about $1,000 at the time) between them. It rapidly became a symbol of the rise of a new India — high-tech and globally-connected — as the first Indian company to list on the NASDAQ and, in August 2021, the fourth to cross $100 billion in market capitalization. It was during a visit to the Bengaluru HQ in 2000 that the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman came up with his famous formulation that “the world is flat” — that every country’s now on a level playing field. And it was to this campus that a succession of foreign dignitaries — Vladimir Putin in 2004 and David Cameron in 2010 — came when they wanted to discover the new India.