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HCL on the lookout for “anchor customers” for outsourcing

Service provider HCL has launched its first regional office in Dubai Internet City, and is already on the hunt for key "anchor" customers.

HCL on the lookout for “anchor customers” for outsourcing
HCL founder and chairman Shiv Nadar says: "Dubai is an entry port, not mainly to the Middle East but also to North East Africa."

IT services outfit HCL's top priority this year is to find key clients to anchor its Middle East business, according to the company's founder, chairman and chief strategy office. Shiv Nadar, a past ecipient of the Padma Bhushan - India's third-highest civilian decoration - was in town to inaugurate the company's new regional headquarters in Dubai Internet City.

During the event, Nadar explained the "anchor customer" concept as being one in which HCL would find a major customer which would be willing to invest in a joint-equity operation to achieve profitability.

"How did we grow in Northern Ireland? We went and requested British Telecom to be our "anchor customer". They had 34 high-cost call centres spread throughout UK. In London, a call centre comes to more than 30 pounds an hour. The call centre cost in Belfast was 21.5 pounds an hour. We offered it to them at 15 pounds an hour, provided they move so much of their work there. It was very good for BT as well because of the large cost reduction they have achieved," he recalled.

Nadar also noted on the importance of the UAE - and Dubai in particular - as an entry point to other countries in the region.

"To us, Dubai is an entry port, not mainly to the Middle East but also to North East Africa. We do believe that in several areas, it could be an entry port through partnerships to the Central Asian countries which came into being after the Soviet Union got dismembered," he said.

Virender Aggarwal, senior vice president and head of APAC-MEA Markets also confirmed this intention and revealed that plans are afoot to establish presences in neighbouring countries: "We have a legal entity in UAE now. We intend to have a legal entity in Saudi Arabia very soon. We have offices in almost all the GCC countries with a significant presence in Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE. We intend to expand into Egypt - we are already working there right now. Dubai will be the mainstay supporting other countries, but other countries will also have some capability to execute locally."

"We are proud to have Mr Shiv Nadar with us and we are proud to have HCL in this region. It's a milestone not only for HCL; it's a milestone for the ICT industry in this region as we believe such a successful company will definitely contribute to the success of this development. We as an industry are very keen to partner and make such that such companies have the right requirements to come and operate here and start penetrating this promising region," said Malek  Sultan Al Malek, executive director of Dubai Internet City.

HCL was founded by Nadar in 1976. Today, the enterprise - valued at $5 billion – consists of two entities, HCL Technologies and HCL infosystems and employs 62,000 employees worldwide. Its current customers include aircraft manufacturer Boeing, for whom it is currently developing systems for the 787 Dreamliner.



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