US computer networking giant Cisco Systems plans to more than triple its workforce in India and turn the South Asian nation into a platform to tap and service markets worldwide.
Chief executive officer John Chambers, who pledged US$1.16 billion in investment for India two years ago, outlined the company's plans late on Tuesday after opening a US$50 million facility in the southern city of Bangalore.
Chambers, who has expanded the company to US$35 billion in revenue from US$1.2 billion when he took over as CEO in 1995, tacked on US$100 million in additional venture capital funding.
From 3,000 current employees, the California-based Cisco will increase its workforce in India to 10,000 by 2010, and expects to generate 20 percent of its "future leadership" from the country, said Chambers, who is also chairman.
"This is a country that knows how to partner," he told reporters, adding Cisco saw India as intrinsic to its growth and not merely as a low-cost location. "It's a part of our long-term strategy."
Cisco will use the 93,000m2 Bangalore facility to devise networking technology solutions for customers in emerging markets in Asia, including China, and the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, Chambers said.
The Banglore location, which will eventually also serve Cisco customers in developed markets like North America and Europe, will accommodate staff from its research and development, information technology and customer support teams.
It will also house Cisco's largest campus data centre outside the US and serve as a focal point to demonstrate the company's technologies to customers.
"India is at the heart of our globalization vision and provides a platform for Cisco to capitalize on the growth potential in the emerging world," said Wim Elfrink, chief globalization officer at Cisco.
"The commitment we are making to truly globalize our business is reflective of the changing business models of our customers and partners," he said. "We will develop products and services here that will support customers in this part of the world."
The inauguration ceremony of the Bangalore facility, named the Cisco Globalization Center East, featured potential applications of the company's "Telepresence" technology, which allows groups of people in different locations to meet around a virtual "table."
The technology was used to project the life-size image of a Cisco executive in California, meeting and talking with Chambers on a stage in Bangalore as if the conversation was taking place in person.
Cisco will use part of the US$100 million in fresh venture capital it will pump into India to fund a healthcare project that it will undertake with Satyam Computer Services, India's fourth-largest outsourcing company.