Continuing its effort to increase its presence in so-called growth markets, IBM (NYSE: IBM) recently announced the opening of a new branch office in Ludhiana, Punjab, India.
The Ludhiana branch is IBM's seventh new office to be opened in India in the past 12 months, after those in Coimbatore, Indore, Guwahati, Dehradun, Raipur and Visakhapatnam, IBM said. IBM is focused on increasing its presence in smaller, rapidly developing cities, as India plays an increasingly important part in the country's economic growth, the company said.
Ludhiana is the largest city in Punjab and is near the state capital Chandigarh, where IBM already has an established presence. In recent years, Ludhiana has experienced strong economic growth led by the development of the clothing, automotive parts and food manufacturing sectors. Small-scale industries make up an important part of Ludhiana's business landscape with more than 6,000 small and midsized enterprises operating in the city.
"We are seeing strong demand for our solutions and services in Ludhiana as businesses in the city turn to IT to increase efficiencies and improve customer service," Vivek Malhotra, vice president and territory executive for IBM North and East India, said in a statement. "Crucial to Ludhiana's economic development are small and medium-sized enterprises which spur innovation in the region and are at the center of a thriving export market in the city."
IBM is currently working with many clients in Ludhiana. For example, textile manufacturer Nahar Group and rice producer Lakshmi Energy and Foods (LEAF) have both turned to IBM to automate their business processes and optimize the use of information technology to aid business growth.
Another IBM client in Ludhiana is SPS Apollo hospital, which selected IBM systems to help improve patient care.
"As one of the largest cities in Punjab, with strong economic and population growth, companies and organizations in Ludhiana are coming under increasing pressure to transform," Jugdiep Singh, managing director of SPS Apollo, said in a statement. "By working with IBM, we are able to leverage the latest technologies to bring us closer to our goal of bringing excellence in health care within the reach of every individual."
IBM officials said Big Blue also has a program to invest in skills in the city. For example, the company has established an IBM Software Center of Excellence at Punjab Agricultural University that provides training on IBM software as part of IBM's Academic Initiative. More than 270 students have already completed IBM training in Ludhiana to date. Also, more than 200 students from across 15 colleges in the Ludhiana region have registered for IBM's Great Mind ChallengeIndia's largest technical contest, IBM said.