Indian BPO major Firstsource has spread cheer by announcing plans to create more than 800 jobs in Northern Island.
Firstsource, which operates from two bases in Northern Ireland, is among a growing number of Indian companies like HCL, polaris, PixTransmission and Tech Mahindra who have chosen to set up offices in the region.
The company announced that around 300 of the new jobs will be in Londonderry where the company already employs 350. The remaining 500 jobs will be based in the company's European Centre of Excellence, which is being established in the region. The company, which set up office in the region in 2006, employs 550 people in Belfast.
The investment by the company is being backed by 6.7 million pounds grant aid from Invest Northern Ireland, a regional economic development agency.
The grant and the expansion were finalised during a recent trade visit to India by the Enterprise, Trade and Investment minister Nigel Dodds.
"This significant reinvestment by Firstsource Solutions clearly reflects the company's confidence in the region. The local economy will not only benefit from an additional 10
million pounds in salaries annually but also from company's commitment to training and the introduction of best-practice skills in the area of customer service," Dodds said.
Firstsource has 34 call centres worldwide and employs more than 17,000 people across four continents. It specialises in providing outsourced services including contact centre, back-office processing and debt-collection services.
The investment further enhances the strong links between Northern Ireland and India which has led to a string of inward investments from Indian companies. To further cultivate these links, Invest Northern Ireland recently opened an office in Mumbai.
Recently the Omagh-based Telestack International was contracted to supply its unique telescopic conveying equipment to an iron ore mining operation in Goa. The company won a 300,000 pounds contract for a tracked conveyor system.
Alan Hingston, Invest Northern Ireland's director of trade, said: "India is fast becoming a key market for Northern Ireland companies across a range of sectors including IT, biotechnology and consumer products".
He added, "Initiatives which we are planning will provide additional support to companies to seize the massive business opportunities in what is now one of the world's most dynamic markets."