SAP sees India, China driving growth

SAP sees India, China driving growth

New Delhi: 28 August German software firm SAP AG said it has doubled the number of customers in India to 2,000 in the past year, and reaffirmed plans to invest $1 billion (Rs4,097 crore) in the country to boost growth.

The world’s biggest maker of business software said India and China would be central to its drive to sign up 100,000 customers by the end of the decade.

SAP, which competes against US-based Oracle, announced last year it would spend $1 billion by 2011 in the fast-growing Indian market to grow its operations and double its headcount.

The investment underscores India’s growing importance as a global hub for technology outsourcing and research for multinationals such as IBM, Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp.

“Markets like India are at an inflexion point when it comes to the adoption of technology by businesses of all shapes and sizes," CEO Henning Kagermann said in a statement.

“It took us nine years in India to reach the 1,000 customer mark and only one to double it."

Asia-Pacific accounted for around 13% of SAP’s total April-June revenue, behind Europe’s 52% contribution and 35% in the US.

The firm has identified India as one of eight strategic markets to power its expansion, a prominence underscored by its decision to send its entire executive board to India.

Partners WIPRO

SAP said Wipro, India’s No.3 software services exporter, would be a global services partner and establish a solutions laboratory in Bangalore.

SAP won 498 new customers in India last year and has added 600 so far in 2007.

Its India revenues totalled 98 million euros ($133.7 million) last year, and more than two-thirds of India’s top-30 companies listed on Bombay’s benchmark stock index use SAP software, it said.

SAP expects small and medium businesses to drive sales in Asia’s third-largest economy, and hopes SMEs will generate half its India revenues by 2010.

“Indian SMEs are as aggressive and confident in their business outlook, and robust enough to handle strong growth," said SAP’s deputy CEO Leo Apotheker. REUTERS