IBM has 130,000 employees in India, more than its US workforce, says report

IBM executives say India projects represent the company’s future.

IBM, which began with its manufacturing centers in the US by making mainframe and floppy disks, is now facing criticism for draining American jobs and harboring it to India.

According to a New York Times report, IBM, which can be called as a big brother among all tech majors with origin in the US, is giving its India operations excessive importance. The multinational’s India offices now have about 130,000 employees, which is one-third of its total workforce, and highest in any country where IBM has a presence.

Going by the Trump administration’s latest ‘bring jobs back to America’ rhetoric, IBM is one big American company that the administration is keeping a close watch as it has been showing a tendency to move to the east as part of the globalization trend.

The India operations of IBM is spanned from managing the computing needs of global giants like AT&T and Shell to performing cutting-edge research in fields like visual search, artificial intelligence and computer vision for self-driving cars.

NYT also reported that one team from India is even working with the producers of Sesame Street to teach vocabulary to kindergartners in Atlanta.

“IBM India, in the truest sense, is a microcosm of the IBM company,” Vanitha Narayanan, chairman of the company’s India operations to IBM.

In the case of IBM, the company has been struggling to gain revenue and its India operations are vital for cutting down the cost. A majority of American companies such as Oracle and Dell have the overseas presence in India.

In contrary to all these firms, IBM is unique as it remains to be a US-based firm even though the highest number of people employed with them is outside of its home territory.

IBM office Bangalore (Courtesy of Vinoo202 via Wikipedia)

IBM has withheld from making public the exact number of people it has employed in its offices in India but Glassdoor reports that its US employees are well below the 1000,000 (100,000?) mark.

It has to be noted that IBM’s growing presence in India is after a major setback the company faced in 1978 when it was ousted from the country over disputes with the Indian government.

The growth of the India operations of IBM has left many tech experts in the US  red-faced. According to Ronil Hira, an associate professor of public policy at Howard University who studies globalization and immigration, IBM India is a real threat to American tech-jobs.

When the new administration took charge, IBM’s chief executive, Ginni Rometty, pledged to create 25,000 new American jobs. This after Trump accused the company of laying off 500 Minnesotans during his campaign run.

India is not only performing deliver services to IBM’s global clients but it also plays a crucial role in the company’s efforts to help businesses serve the next big slice of customers.

IBM executives say projects like these represent the company’s future. “I am looking for India to be my hub for affordable innovation,” Ms. Vanitha Narayanan, CEO of India operations of IBM, who spent 12 years working at IBM in the United States and China before moving to India in 2009s, NYT reported.

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