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German tech company recruits people with autism 

WALLDORF, GERMANY - JANUARY 08: A general view of the headquarters of SAP AG, Germany's largest software company on January 8, 2013 in Walldorf, Germa...
The headquarters of SAP AG, Germany's largest software company, which recruits people with autism.Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images

German software giant SAP AG said Tuesday it plans to recruit people with autism to take make full use of their talents to process information.

Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties in communicating, emotional detachment and rigid or repetitive behavior. But some people with mild autism can perform complex mathematical tasks much better than the average population.

"SAP sees a potential competitive advantage to leveraging the unique talents of people with autism, while also helping them to secure meaningful employment," the Walldorf, Germany-based software maker said in a statement.

An estimated one percent of the world population has a form of autism and the company wants to reflect that in its 65,000-strong workforce, spokesman Hilmar Schepp told The Associated Press.

Related: Autism seen as asset, not liability, in some jobs

The jobs for which SAP will be recruiting people with autism include software testing, programming and quality assurance.

The announcement follows a pilot project SAP undertook in India which resulted in productivity improvements, the company said. It will be expanded to the United States, Canada and Germany this year.

The company is partnering with Danish company Specialisterne, which helps people with autism work in technology jobs. Specialisterne has previously worked with Microsoft and SAP's rival Oracle.