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Is outsourcing threatened by unsourcing?

In all businesses, it is important to keep an eye on game-changing technologies. As South Asia places even greater weight on outsourcing of various kinds in their drive to increase service exports, it is worth keeping an eye on unsourcing, according to the Economist:

FOR the past decade, technical support has been in the vanguard of globalisation. With the costs of intercontinental communication shrivelling to virtually nothing, phone and online customer services have migrated to wherever they can be managed most efficiently and cheaply. India blazed the trail, building a $5 billion outsourcing business on helping Westerners solve high-tech niggles.

Recently, the Philippines has taken over as the world’s call-centre hotspot, offering comparable wage costs to India, with the added benefit—at least to North American ears—of a Yankee drawl. But even as half a million Filipino customer-service representatives urge callers to have a nice day, they may want to peer over their shoulders.

Some of the biggest brands in software, consumer electronics and telecoms have now found a workforce offering expert advice at a fraction of the price of even the cheapest developing nation, who also speak the same language as their customers, and not just in the purely linguistic sense. Because it is their customers themselves.

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