Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Sunday, Nov 23, 2003
`Gulf, West Asia region strategic to Wipro's growth'
Abu Dhabi , Nov. 22
IT services major Wipro is set to garner a sizeable chunk of the value-added services market in the Gulf and West Asian region, following the response to its recently opened office in Saudi Arabia and bagging some prestigious contracts with leading institutions operating in Gulf States.
Outlining the company's growth in the region and optimistic trends for the future, Mr Syed Mansoor Ahmad, Wipro's General Manager, West Asia, told Business Line that the Gulf and West Asia region is extremely strategic to the company.
"The fact that we have opened our own office in Saudi Arabia speaks of our commitment to do business here. Our focus here would be on offering IT consulting, services and solutions that add tangible business value to our customers. These would include enterprise applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), system integration, IT outsourcing and infrastructure management services," he said.
"We have received an enthusiastic response from our customers, following the opening of our own office in Saudi Arabia. Wipro has been working with Dar Al Riyadh Consultants, its local business partner in Saudi Arabia. To that extent, customers are quite familiar with Wipro. Having started operations in June 2001 in Saudi Arabia, Wipro has built a strong customer base in the Kingdom in just two years. Our new facility in Al Khobar includes a modern technical competency centre, where we plan to train Saudi nationals on SAP and other emerging technologies to meet the growing demands of corporates in the Kingdom. We believe this initiative will help develop `in demand skills' among Saudis, and will be received positively by our customers," Mr Ahmad said.
Wipro has been working with several large companies in the Kingdom including Saudi Polyolefins Company, Al Haya Medical Company and Riyadh Pharma, where it is implementing ERP systems such as SAP and Oracle. "We are also working with other large oil and petrochemical companies in a similar area," he added.
On Wipro's growth in West Asia, Mr Ahmad indicated that the Middle East business continues to build up, both on the software solutions segment as well as system/infrastructure integration over the last two years that the company has been present here.
"We now have more than 50 projects in the region and have deployed more than 200 resources in the region excluding the offshore resources engaged in projects in the region. We now have business across the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries," he said. Some of the projects Wipro is involved in are consulting at Petroleum Development Organisation, Oman; MySAP IS-Chemical implementation at the National Petrochemical Industrial Company, Saudi Arabia; Management of the Data centre operations and Portal at Dubai E Government; Application development at Dubai Dry Docks; Enterprise application integration and security consulting at Doha Bank; Qatar Operations Management for e-Services at Dubai Municipality and the setting up of network operations centre at eHosting Datafort.
Wipro has also won some more projects recently in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries but cannot disclose details at present, he said.
Mr Ahmad stressed that Wipro, which has its regional headquarters in Dubai Internet City, is currently focussing mainly on the GCC countries. "Our immediate priority is to consolidate our presence in the markets which we address currently."
He said that there were no plans at present to enter Iraq. "We constantly evaluate new opportunities and geographies but currently, Iraq is not our focus," he said. On the importance of the Gulf region vis-a-vis the US and European markets, and the increase in revenue in this region, Mr Ahmad said: "Wipro has set itself a vision of being among the top 10 IT services companies globally. In line with this vision, we expanded into the Middle East. This region is extremely strategic to us.
"We will not be able to give you revenue targets, but to share a perspective of the region's potential, the Middle East IT services market is estimated to be $5 billion and is growing at the rate of 12 per cent. Out of which, Saudi Arabia is the largest IT services market in the Middle East and North Africa region with a market size of $ 660 million. The market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 10 per cent over the next five years to reach nearly $1billion by 2006 (Source: International Data Corporation ). We will aim to achieve a large share of the value-added services market here," he said.
"With the adoption of IT as part of the national agenda of Governments across the region, we would believe that there would be a requirement of high-end value-added IT services across various segments in the region. With the growing telecom, banking and oil and gas segments, we see a large potential for IT services," the official said.
Wipro has no plans to start a development centre in the region now, but would leverage the local talent for language skills, Mr Ahmad said.
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