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Friday, 17 March, 2000, 16:57 GMT
Cyber city gears up

President Clinton will visit Hyderabad's cyber park
The southern Indian city of Hyderabad, which prides itself as being one of the country's up and coming software centres, is gearing up for a visit by US President Bill Clinton.

It pulled off a coup when the president chose to visit the city instead of India's other more established cyber centre, Bangalore.

Urgent repairs for Hyderabad roads
The two leading information technology cities have been competing for high-tech investment for several years now.

The White House had said President Clinton wanted to see Indian cyber-savvy at its best.

So Hyderabad and Bangalore pulled out all the stops in India and the United States to get the president's attention - before Hyderabad got the nod.

Up and coming

Hyderabad is a relative newcomer to the world of information technology, spurred on by high-flying chief minister Chandrababu Naidu.

The city of four million people, once the home of Muslim nobleman who built elegant palaces with manicured gardens, has invested heavily in infrastructure and IT under Mr Naidu's leadership.

Firms like Microsoft set up software development facilities in the city in a specially created cyber park.

Chandra Babu Naidu
Chief Minister Naidu: India's most cyber savvy politician
But some feel that Mr Naidu's trump card in getting Mr Clinton to visit was his position as a key ally of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Mr Naidu is getting the credit for making the Vajpayee government India's most IT-oriented ever.

Now, Mr Naidu is making sure that the president's visit is memorable.

New street lights are being put up and city roads are being frantically repaired.

Several historical monuments and tourist attractions are also being repaired, despite the fact that the president is unlikely to find time to visit any of them.

Bangalore misses out

Further south, the more established high-tech city, Bangalore, is not resting on its laurels.

PC Terminal
Cybercafes made their debut in Bangalore
The glitzy shops and pleasant lifestyle that draw so much of India's foreign software investment is being used to rope in fresh investment.

Sophisticated internet cafes first made their Indian debut here and many of India's burgeoning companies are based here too.

Bangalore's famed pub culture attracts the city's software engineers, who unwind nightly in a series of high and low-tech theme bars.

It was enough to draw the attention of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, who visited last week and pledged to use Bangalore as a centre for his giant News Corp's global software interests.

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06 Nov 97 | World
India opens up the Internet
13 Mar 00 | South Asia
Murdoch eyes 'cyber' Bangalore
09 Dec 97 | BBC World Computer Week
Internet appeal in India
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