Indian business software giant Zoho eyes SA expansion - TechCentral

Indian business software giant Zoho eyes SA expansion

Hyther Nizam

Zoho Corporation, a Chennai, India-based developer of a wide spectrum of software-as-a-service business applications, is eyeing significant expansion in Africa, and South Africa specifically, and may soon open a local office to support this growth.

In an interview with TechCentral in Johannesburg on Thursday, Zoho’s president for the Middle East and Africa, Hyther Nizam, said the company has seen its strongest growth worldwide from Africa, with 50% of its revenue from the continent coming from South Africa, followed by Nigeria and Kenya.

Founded by CEO Sridhar Vembu as a developer of office productivity software, Zoho has since broadened its focus to a wide range of software for businesses, from customer relationship management to accounting and project management. It is privately held, has been entirely self-funded, has no intention of listing and does not disclose its financial results. Forbes magazine estimated in October 2018 that Vembu had a net worth of US$1.6-billion.

The company employs 7 000 people, most of them software engineers and developers. It has nine offices worldwide, including India, the US, the Netherlands, Australia, China, Japan, Mexico, Singapore and United Arab Emirates. The African region is managed from Dubai. It has 45 million registered users of Zoho products and has more than 45 apps in its flagship Zoho One suite of cloud software, according to Nizam.

“There are positive indicators that we should have a local office in South Africa,” he said. “South Africa is our number two market after the UAE in the whole Middle East and Africa region.”

Data centres

This year, Zoho has added two data centres to its portfolio — both in India — bringing the total to eight. Data centres will soon be built in Singapore and the Middle East and Africa. It’s possible that the latter could be situated in Johannesburg, but Nizam emphasises that no decisions have yet been made.

“Johannesburg is a strong contender for the Middle East and Africa data centre, but we don’t want to commit just yet.”  — © 2019 NewsCentral Media

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