Atlas Magazine November 2006

Relocation: User's manuel

The announcement made by AXA for a massive redundancy plan with a transfer of activity to India and Morocco has strongly marked insurance news in recent months in France.

This decision came down while the company has been surfing on the waves of profits and acquisitions, hence the stir among staff members and the group's unions.

We are a long way from the good old times when North-South exchange was based on the great principles such as technology transfer, experience sharing, complementarities, equal-footing negotiations, …

Globalization has tolled the knell of this utopia and radically modified the situation.

Today, as far as big corporates are concerned, the relocation of business is exclusively motivated by cuts in the operating costs.

What about recipient countries?

Some off-shoring operations which make recourse to top-level local competencies, namely in computer sciences, are most likely to generate jobs as well as added value. India stands as the best illustration of this type of relocation.

Other operations, however, stand as mere transfers of back-office subordinate activities with very little spin-off for the host countries.

In fact all depends on the quality of the job market and to the standard of elite training.

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