25 July 2020
The US tech industry’s biggest names have made a beeline for India in recent months, and current darling Zoom is following suit.
The video conferencing company announced this week that it will triple its existing workforce in India’s financial capital, Mumbai, while also establishing new data centers in the tech hubs of Bangalore and Hyderabad. The company declined to share exactly how many employees it currently has in India and how many more it plans to hire.
“It’s very much the culture of Zoom to be curious, to look for … opportunities for growth wherever they may present themselves and not to close us off to any option,” the company’s chief operating officer, Aparna Bawa, told CNN Business in an interview the day after the announcement.
India’s 700 million-plus internet users — with roughly 500 million more yet to come online — increasingly present a must-have prize for Silicon Valley. Facebook, Google, Intel and Qualcomm have collectively poured more than $16 billion into India this year.
Zoom’s expansion is a response to a spike in usage, with the company saying free user signups in India rocketed 6700% between January and April this year.
Zoom has arguably been the breakout star of the coronavirus pandemic, with a meteoric rise in demand for its video calling services as people around the world were forced to work and socialize at home. Daily meeting participants, the metric Zoom uses to track usage, soared from 10 million at the end of December to 300 million in April.
The company now appears to be at an inflection point following its pandemic bump and a three-month period to fix its security and privacy issues. and will be looking to sustain that momentum while also charting a path for future growth.
But it comes as the company faces pressure to dial back ties with another big market and employee base. Zoom’s longstanding ties to China have caused a series of issues — a controversy over some data being routed through Chinese servers forced it to start allowing users more control over their data, and the company sparked outrage by temporarily shutting down accounts of some human rights groups at the request of the Chinese government.
The company also has a sizable workforce in China, including its R&D department of over 700 employees, which the company warned in its annual report “could expose us to market scrutiny regarding the integrity of our solution or data security features.”