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WebEx Extends Footprint To India

The provider of Web conferencing services plans to use the country as a base for its back-office work.

BANGALORE, India (AP) -- Silicon Valley-based WebEx Communications, provider of Web conferencing services, has extended its network to India, planning to tap the local market and use the South Asian country as a base for its back-office work.

"We have just opened a node in Bombay city (in western India). This must help us leverage the strategic opportunity that India is," WebEx chief executive officer Subra Iyar told reporters on Tuesday in the southern technology hub of Bangalore.

WebEx, based in San Jose, Calif., has begun hiring people in Bangalore to provide online support to WebEx clients across the world, he said, without revealing the number of new recruits.

The Bombay node serves as a connection point to a network owned by WebEx, spanning North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. That network, in turn, connects to the Internet, enabling WebEx customers to hold videoconferencing with an Internet connection.

The Yankee Group, a Boston-based consultancy, estimated global demand for Web conferencing to be $480 million in 2003 and said it is growing by 42 percent annually. Another consultancy, Frost & Sullivan, said in April 2004 that WebEx is the global market leader, with a 67 percent share.

WebEx's customers include Boeing, Kodak, and Kyocera.

Iyar said at least half of WebEx's back-office work--such as setting up conferencing connections, moderating meetings, and handling customer calls--will be done from a center in Bangalore by the end of 2007.

Scores of Western firms get such office functions done in India because of low wages. India earns $12.5 billion annually from outsourcing of software development, engineering design, and back-office work.

WebEx employs 1,500 people and reported revenues of $61 million for the financial quarter ended June 30.

In December 2003, WebEx acquired CyberBazaar, a Bangalore-based teleconferencing firm, for $4 million.

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