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Zoom expands India operations as technology center are open in Bengaluru

Zoom, the video-conferencing company that has risen to the top during the coronavirus pandemic, plans to open a new technology center in Bengaluru. Zoom said the new technology center will “supplement” the company’s existing R&D centers and support Zoom’s engineering leadership.

“We have a world-class team, but to keep up with the growth and to keep up with the needs of the markets that we are addressing, we need to grow,” Velchamy Sankarlingam, President of Product and Engineering for Zoom, told the media on the sidelines of the announcement. “India based on our experience has the best talents to tap into.”

Sankarlingam added that the company will be looking to recruit DevOps engineers, IT, Security, and Business Operations headcount in the area. The hiring will begin shortly, indicated Sankarlingam.

Zoom said it has big plans for India, where the company has seen massive growth in the past few months. Zoom has seen 6700 percent growth in free user sign-ups in India from January to April 2020.

The announcement of opening a new technology center in India comes at a time when Zoom is fighting rumors on social media that it is Chinese-owned. “We are a US company, we are listed on the NASDAQ and we have our headquarters in San Jose, California,” said Aparna Bawa, Chief Operating Officer, Zoom. “We at Zoom are focused on providing the easiest to use a collaboration platform that is also very safe and very secure.”

Earlier this year, Zoom also came under the scrutiny of the Indian government when the app was deemed as “not a safe platform.” The Cyber Coordination Centre (CyCord) of India’s ministry of home affairs said in a 16-page advisory that government employees should not use the Zoom app for official work

Despite a surge in popularity due to the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom faced a privacy and security backlash around the world. Later, Zoom chief executive Eric S. Yuan had to apologize for the security lapses and pledged to focus on users’ privacy and security over the development of new features. As part of a 90-day plan to improve security and privacy on the platform, the new version of the app, Zoom 5.0, was released that included encryption and new privacy controls.

But lately, Zoom has been facing rather tough competition in India, especially from local rivals. The launch of JioMeet is seen as a direct competition to Zoom with similar features. The new video conferencing app, even though made by Jio, has a similar user interface and is completely free. Zoom is also competing against Airtel BlueJeans.

“The UI is one aspect,” said Bawa without naming JioMeet. “What makes Zoom special is multifold and it’s not just the UI. We have a tremendous architecture on the back end that allows us to deliver such high quality and video and audio over the globe.”

The San Jose-headquartered Zoom has an office in Mumbai, which is expected to triple in size, and two data centers in India, one each in Mumbai and Hyderabad. Zoom counts IIM, WNX, Tata Technologies, Crisil, ICRA, and Religare as its customers in India. The company said the number of paid users have quadrupled across the country.

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