It was bound to happen, but it's a remarkable story nonetheless. Thousands of jobs taken by India from the west are being re-exported as wages shoot up. The Guardian's Randeep Ramesh reports that India outsources outsourcing:
From his tree-top-high office, Kris Gopalakrishnan, the head of India's giant software company Infosys, explains the rise of an economic phenomenon about to engulf the world: outsourcers are outsourcing themselves.
Once known for sucking jobs out of call centres and IT departments in the west, Indian technology firms are re-exporting them to wealthier nations as wage inflation and skills shortages at home reverse the process.
Infosys spent $250m this year buying the Polish call centres of Philips, the electronics group, manned by workers who speak half-a-dozen European languages. The company is building up a network of offices stretching from Mexico to eastern Europe to China to provide an "anytime, anywhere" solution to its clients. "Our customers are global, so we have to become so," says Mr Gopalakrishnan.
Infosys is not alone. Wipro, another hi-tech titan, has been on a spending spree, buying up companies in America, Finland, Portugal and Europe for hundreds of millions of dollars. Azim Premji, Wipro's chairman, raised eyebrows on Wall Street when he talked this year of setting up divisions in Idaho, Virginia and Georgia - US states he said were attractive because they were "less developed".
Tata, India's largest firm, is running call centres in Britain. ABN Amro, the Dutch bank recently bought by an RBS consortium for £48bn, will pay Tata Consultancy Services $200m to send work halfway across the globe to Brazil, where software programmers will run computer systems.
Indian software companies' skill is that they have been able to take complex tasks from multinational firms, pull them apart and put them together more efficiently. This expertise has reached a stage where it can be done anywhere across the globe - grafting Indian technical knowhow onto white-collar workers in Brazil or Saudi Arabia or even back to the US.