China catching up with India in call centre services

BEIJING, Feb 9, 2007 (AFP) – China is catching up with India in providing call centre services, one of the fastest-growing areas of global outsourcing, Chinese state media and a research firm said Friday. The number of employees at call centres in China is likely to rise 22 percent in 2007 to 158,000, while in India the work force is seen rising 16 percent to 312,500, Sydney-based research firm Callcentres.net said.

“The world is becoming flat,” said Francis Scricco, senior vice president of US telecom firm Avaya, which has just set up an “intelligent communication centre” in northeast China’s Dalian city, according to the China Daily.

“More and more international corporations are entering the Chinese market, and more and more Chinese companies are expanding to other markets,” Scricco was quoted as saying.

Call centres are centralised offices handling large volumes of telephone requests from customers of big corporations, providing product support and dealing with complaints.

As telecommunication becomes cheaper, many corporations are now cutting costs by outsourcing call centre services to countries with lower labour costs.

Twenty-nine percent of call centres in China service int