BPO giant in SA – more to follow

31 December 2007

The decision by US-based business process outsourcing (BPO) giant TeleTech to establish a facility outside Cape Town is proof that the country’s marketing campaign to attract new foreign investment is a success, says the International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC).

IMC chief executive Yvonne Johnston says TeleTech’s decision will stimulate further global interest in the country’s advantages in the fields of BPO and call centres.

“The BPO industry is poised for significant growth in the near future and South Africa is an ideal location to set up base,” Johnston said in a statement following TeleTech’s announcement in November.

“We deliver competitive advantages compared with other countries in terms of our geographic location and time zone, the quality of our infrastructure, our human resources and the widespread usage of English.”

The IMC, the custodian of Brand South Africa, is responsible for promoting the country as a preferred trade and investment destination.

Construction of the new TeleTech facility at the Old Match Factory in Salt River, Cape Town, kicked off in late November with a sod-turning ceremony attended by Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa.

Colorado-based TeleTech Holdings is the first multinational company to benefit from a new incentive plan launched by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which has identified the BPO sector as a major future source of employment.

“BPO is critical to our economic development strategy, and we see TeleTech as an anchor company for this new industry,” Mpahlwa said at the ceremony.

SA a ‘high quality location’
TeleTech has already announced that it plans a number of new facilities in South Africa, which will create thousands of new jobs in the BPO industry. The company already employs more than 50 000 people in 18 countries, and Cape Town is its first base on the African continent.

“Africa’s future is in services, and South Africa is a virtually untapped market for offshore BPO,” TeleTech Africa general manager Craig Reines said in a statement. “We are attracted by the country’s excellent infrastructure, talented and growing labour pool, and the widespread use of English.

“South Africa is a high quality location linking Africa into the global BPO supply chain.”

Johnston said the TeleTech investment was a high-profile example of the success of the trade and investment missions jointly organised by the IMC and the DTI.

“For the past five years we have conducted at least one mission a year – twice to the USA, Europe and the UK, and in October this year we went to India for the first time,” Johnston said. “We use these missions to inform the business communities in these countries about opportunities and prospects for trade and investment and to connect them with local contacts.

“I am optimistic that we will see an increasing flow of trade and investment from companies that have come to know South Africa better through these visits.”

SAinfo reporter

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