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Dell to double its staff in India by 2009

Dell chairman Michael Dell, left, shakes hands with managing director of Dell's India operations Romi Malhotra after a press conference in Bangalore, India, Monday. The computer maker plans to double the number of employees in India to 20,000 in three years. Gautam Singh / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Computer maker Dell Inc. plans to double the number of employees in India to 20,000 in three years, Chairman Michael Dell said Monday.

The Round Rock, Tex.-based company currently operates four call centers in India, a product testing center for corporate customers and a global software development center. Some 10,000 people work at these facilities.

"We will double our staff from the current level over the next three years," Dell told reporters during a visit to Bangalore, India's technology hub.

"There is a fantastic opportunity to attract talent (here)," he said. "We will ensure a major recruitment push in engineering talents."

Earlier this year, the company said it was also looking to set up a manufacturing center in India, a move that could help boost the sale of Dell computers in this Asian nation.

"We have been in discussions with a number of state governments in terms of infrastructure and logistics. We are yet to make a decision on the location of the plant," Dell said. He declined to give any timeframe for a decision.

Scores of Western companies have been cutting costs by shifting software development, engineering design and routine office functions to countries such as India, where English-speaking workers are plentiful and wages are low.

Earlier this year, on a trip to New Delhi, Dell's chief executive, Kevin Rollins, said his company's expansion plans in India were not limited to tapping talent, but that it also wanted to benefit from India's growing demand for computers.

Dell accounts for less than 4 percent of the 4 million computers sold annually in India, whereas the company's share in the global market is about 18 percent, he said.

Taxes levied by the Indian government on computers and computer parts are a major factor, resulting in higher prices for Dell products and sluggish sales. The Indian government imposes higher import taxes on fully assembled computers than computer parts, and Dell currently ships complete computer sets to India.

A domestic manufacturing facility would help the company avoid some taxes and boost its presence in India, where computer sales are expected to increase to 10 million annually over the next three to five years.

Dell currently operates nine plants around the world, six of them outside the United States.