India's largest information technology services provider, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and GE have entered into a joint venture to set up the first all-women business process services centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
TCS and GE will have 76 per cent and 24 per cent equity, respectively. The first anchor customers would be Saudi Aramco, the kingdom's national oil company, and GE. The new centre is to serve as a building block to localise a business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in Saudi Arabia. The three partners (Saudi Aramco being the third) are to scale up the new venture, to create up to 3,000 jobs for Saudi female professionals. GE will create up to 1,000 employment opportunities for this initiative.
Cyrus Mistry, chairman of Tata Group, present at the inaugural event, said: "The Tata Group has a long history of encouraging women to achieve their potential and contribute to the community...Saudi Arabia is a focus market for the Tata Group, where we have built strong partnerships, and this ambitious initiative is an example of our commitment to this market." The Saudi Arabian government is trying to diversify its economy away from a dependence on petroleum, encouraging localisation and growth of a viable employment sector.
"In addition to the array of manufacturing and industrial jobs, services are an even bigger creator of wide-ranging employment...In recent decades, the world, including Saudi Arabian enterprises, has been outsourcing these functions offshore. It's time to bring those jobs home," said Khalid A Al Falih, president and chief executive of Saudi Aramco. GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt said: "We are proud to be supporting female employment opportunities in the kingdom."
Initially providing services to the anchor clients, the centre is to eventually expand the customer base. In due course, GE and TCS will work with leading Saudi educational institutions for specialised training.