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SAP Doubles India Clients, Reaffirms Investment Plan

Software maker SAP said on Tuesday it has doubled its number of customers in India to 2,000 in the past year, and reaffirmed that it planned to invest $1 billion in the country by 2010 to boost growth.

SAP , the world's biggest maker of business software, said India and China would play a central role in its drive to sign up 100,000 customers by the end of the decade.

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

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

The German group generated about 13% of total revenue in the Asia-Pacific region in the second quarter to the end of June, well behind Europe's 52 % contribution and the 35% it received from the United States.

In August last year, SAP, which competes against its United States-based arch-rival Oracle, had said it would invest $1 billion over the next five years in the fast-growing Indian market to expand operations and double its headcount.

SAP's planned investment underscores the growing importance of Asia's third-largest economy as a global hub for technology outsourcing and research for multinational companies like IBM , Microsoft and Intel .

Companies like SAP and IBM also vie with Indian firms for a share of outsourcing deals from domestic banks, small- and medium-sized enterprises and government departments.