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U.S. computer maker Dell Inc. has announced plans to expand operations in India, doubling the number of its employees there to 20,000 within three years. VOA's Melinda Smith has more on this and other international business briefs.

Dell is seeking to trim costs by shifting software development, systems design, and back office functions to a country where wages are low compared with what U.S. workers command. It's a trend that's becoming more widespread as workers in low wage countries become better educated.

Last year, more than 200,000 engineers graduated in India, compared to 70,000 in the US.

Deborah Wince-Smith, president of the Council on Competitiveness, a national organization that tracks global competition in the marketplace, says India is one example of a trend in the developing world.

“They're investing in their people, they're building world-class research enterprises and enabling infrastructure. In short, they're creating high potential innovation ecosystems. Low-wage nations have developed a highly skilled workforce and they are hungry for the world's work."

The move is expected to boost Dell's profile in India, where computer sales are predicted to increase to 10 million every year by 2010.

China's currency, the yuan, has strengthened to its highest level against the U.S. dollar since its revaluation in July. Economists cite market forces and a weakened dollar for the gain.

The news comes as a delegation, including U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and two U.S. Senators, visit Beijing to discuss economic relations between the two powers.

And finally, the price of crude oil on international markets has fallen as winter draws to an end in Europe and North America and the demand for home heating oil declines. Industry analysts also attribute the price adjustment to a build-up of U.S. crude oil stockpiles as consumers cut purchases in response to high prices.

All the same, international crude oil prices remain at a 7-year high, up 12 percent from last year, in part due to political concerns relating to Iran, Iraq, and Nigeria.