BOMBAY, India - U.S. business-software maker Oracle Corp. plans to add 1,400 employees to its sales, consulting and support operations in India as it focuses on expanding business among small and mid-sized companies in the country's towns and rural areas, a company executive said Tuesday.
Oracle already operates in six Indian cities and it plans to set up shop in nine more in the next eight months as it adds to its existing Indian work force of 8,600, said Derek Williams, the company's executive vice president for Asia-Pacific.
"This expansion can give us a whole wave of growth," Williams told reporters in Bombay where Oracle is hosting a two-day conference on the future of information technology. The conference began Tuesday.
"We see a lot of opportunity in the rural sector and in small and medium business firms," he said.
Operations in the new towns will include sales and marketing offices, consulting and product support services, he said.
Over the past five years, Oracle has invested more than $2 billion in India, including setting up research and development centers in Hyderabad and Bangalore, which is its largest research facility outside the United States.
Oracle, based in Redwood Shores, Calif., currently has more than 6,400 customers in India, where some 80 percent of Indian banks and 90 percent of Indian telecommunications companies use Oracle software, some of which supports 13 Indian languages, Williams said.
The company also works with 28 state governments on e-governance projects, he said.
With the company looking to further expand its business, Oracle's president, Charles Phillips, told reporters "the infrastructure we have put in place now enables us to go beyond the metro cities."
He said India was one of Oracle's fastest growing markets in Asia and called the country's smaller towns the "up-and-coming economic engines of India."
Shares of Oracle fell 15 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $12.73 in morning trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.