HP is No. 1 in India headcount
By Staff, CNETAsia
Thursday, December 4 2003 7:01 AM

Beating more well-known contenders like IBM, Intel and Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard has recently become India's largest multinational IT employer, at over 10,000 employees.

Measuring the size of multinational corporations (MNCs) in India is difficult as most do not disclose country-specific revenue figures, so headcount provides one reliable standard, reported the Economic Times, an Indian daily.

HP is in the process of acquiring the public stake of Indian software services exporter, Digital GlobalSoft (DGS), turning its current 51 percent stake into total acquistion. Including the DGS employees, IBM's headcount goes over 10,000 staff.

DGS had a headcount of 4,400 by end-September this year, with another 2,600 HP employees in software operations and 3,000 in HP's Global e-Business, the back office division. With another 800 from sales and support teams, HP's total rises to around 10,800 staff, reported the daily.

This puts HP far ahead of its main rival, IBM, which has an Indian headcount of 6,000. However, IBM is growing quickly in India, and a rise to 8,000-plus is expected.

Big Blue also has a relatively weaker presence in India compared to HP. Of the estimated 320,000 global employees, 6,000 is just under 2 percent, while HP has a smaller overall headcount of around 140,000 which makes its India operations account for well over 7 percent in headcount.

Other large foreign companies in India are also expanding. Accenture, the IT consulting and services corporation, wants to rise from its current 3,000 to rival HP with over 10,000 employees within the next two years.

While Microsoft officially says it only has 700 staff in India now, human resource recruiters in Bangalore told the Economic Times that Microsoft was aggressively recruiting for back office operations, and that they expected it to hire 3,000 people by the end of 2004. Cisco has 3,000 now and Oracle will expand to 4,000 by the end of this year, and Intel plans to hit 3,000 in India in 2005.

However, beating HP and the rest of the MNCs in India for IT employment by a broad margin is U.S.-based General Electric (GE). The conglomerate has 22,000 employees in India, most of them working for GE's business process outsourcing and call center operations.

With Indian outsourcing a hot topic in the U.S. and other source markets, the Economic Times said none of the IT MNC executives it contacted were willing to comment on their hiring plans. Outsourcing is seen as a threat to U.S. IT jobs.