Zoho announces plans to expand in MEA with more offices, new local hires and local data centres

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On the occasion of its annual user conference, Zoholics Dubai, Zoho today announced its plans to implement transnational localism in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. Transnational localism is about being locally rooted, while staying globally connected. As part of its efforts, Zoho will open offices in the region, hire locally, forge partnerships, invest in local business communities, adopt the local culture in its business operations, and support initiatives focused on creating self-reliant regional economies. Zoho also announced that it  will open data centres in the region, including in UAE.

Zoho Corp, which was incorporated in 1996, is celebrating  25 years of being a global technology provider in 2021.

“Zoho has been built on values and convictions. We do not measure our success in numbers, but the impact we have had on our employees, their families, customers, industry, ecosystem and the local communities,” said Sridhar Vembu, CEO and Co-Founder, Zoho Corp. “Our purpose has been to create opportunities for those who don’t have them, build compelling products for our customers, and serve geographical locations that have not been served before. We want to continue being a catalyst for change, inspiring others and emerging as a top technology leader, all the while serving those whom we impact more broadly and deeply.”

Hyther Nizam, President MEA, Zoho Corp

“Zoho follows a long-term approach, and therefore, our growth will be rooted in closely working with and serving the local communities, while staying connected through shared knowledge and culture,” said Hyther Nizam, President MEA, Zoho Corp. “We have already taken steps in this direction by increasing our local hirings, and bolstering our partner network. A strong local presence will help us in effectively addressing the needs of local businesses and add a personal touch to our services. We are also actively partnering with organizations and local business networks to lower the access barriers to enterprise technology, and serve customers of all sizes. We have already created strong footprints in the UAE, and want to replicate it in other countries in the region.”

Zoho’s plans for MEA includes opening new offices in KSA, Egypt, South Africa, Israel, Nigeria, Kenya and other countries in the region. Zoho will adopt a hub-and-spoke office model in the region, with Dubai acting as the hub for offices in the GCC countries. The company will hire locally in each office for customer-facing teams, and increase the local partner network to ensure seamless experiences for customers. It will look to partner with local organizations and communities to ensure sustainable long-term impact across the region. Zoho will further localise products, including improved Arabic and Hebrew support, integrating with local payment gateways for smoother transactions, local pricing, and adapting other offerings to support local laws. The vendor will also seek to invest in and undertake skill-building initiatives.

In 2020, despite the pandemic, Zoho has grown more than 30% in the MEA region, and reported a 37% growth in customers in the UAE. It also relocated to a bigger office at Dubai Internet City before the pandemic to accommodate its growing team. Over the last year, Zoho has announced initiatives like ESAP and Vertical Relief Program, launched new products such as Bigin and BackToWork, and added updates to Workplace (its enterprise collaboration suite) to help businesses pivot and adapt to the remote and hybrid work models. Zoho also partnered with Dubai Economy in October 2020 to help local businesses gain access to enterprise-grade technology through subsidies and exclusive support. Around 1000 Dubai businesses have benefited from it.

In the coming decades, apart from adopting transnational localism as its global growth strategy, Zoho will take steps towards the following direction:

  •  Knitting a distributed workforce with remote work tools and strong culture: Zoho will follow a hub-and-spoke office model, moving towards a decentralised and globally-distributed workforce. In such a remote and hybrid work model, every business app becomes a collaboration app. The company will, therefore, invest in messaging and A/V technologies. Zoho will also focus on maintaining the company culture, bringing employees together through a sense of shared value and purpose.
  • De-layering the tech stack: Zoho will continue to invest heavily in R&D initiatives with a focus on creating a vertically integrated tech stack. In the coming years, Zoho expects the value of tighter vertical, horizontal and contextual integrations to grow. Vertical layers, historically, have been separate with vendors focusing on individual layers. Zoho expects these separated layers to shrink (or de-layered) leading to better efficiencies and customer experience. This can only be achieved through significant R&D efforts, which Zoho will continue to put in.
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