Google to open its first campus beyond the US in India

Hyderabad will be home to a new campus that is said to be the biggest in South Asia.

Hyderabad, the capital of newly-formed Telangana state, will be home for global tech giant Google's biggest and only campus outside its headquarters in the U.S., in a couple of years.

The California-based Internet major will invest around $160 million (1000 crore rupees) for the facility with an office area built on two million sq ft on 7.2 acres in the hi-tech city.

"The government has already transferred land to the company and the ground-breaking ceremony will be held in the first quarter of 2016," Jayesh Ranjan, Secretary (IT, Electronics and Communications) to the Telangana government, told media on the sidelines of the second annual CSR summit of Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association (HYSEA), which was held last week. The new campus is expected to be operational in the first half of 2019.

Though Google wanted to establish the campus and was provided with 20 acres of land in Hyderabad in 2007, the project failed to take off due to legal wrangles in the allotment of land. Again in 2013, the government allocated another piece of land in Hyderabad but this was also not materiliased. The issue was finally settled when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Silicon Valley to meet top executives of IT industry during his visit to the U.S. in September this year.

Presently Google has a technology development centre in Hyderabad with a total head count of 6,500 employees and the figure would be 13,000 when the new campus becomes functional.

"We will ramp up our engineering investments at our Bengaluru and Hyderabad facilities. We will also build a huge new campus in Hyderabad," Sundar Pichai, who took over as the Chief Executive Officer of Google in August, announced during his visit to Delhi last week.

"This country has given me and Google so much and I just hope we can give much more to the country. A lot of what today is about is how we build products for the next billion Indian users, yet to come online."

A visibly elated IT Minister of Telangana, K T Rama Rao, thanked Pichai for choosing Hyderabad for the company's expansion plans in India. "Thanks Sunder Pichai for reiterating commitment to Hyderabad," the Minister tweeted soon after the announcement.

The talk of Google opening its campus was doing rounds for many years but the official announcement last week provided the much-needed fillip to the Telangana state which is expected to declare its IT Policy, either coinciding with the visit of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to Hyderabad in the last week of December, or next month.

Hyderabad has already launched India's largest technology hub T-Hub on November 5 to assist 800 Indian startups in the initial phase.

HYSEA President Ramesh Loganathan told ZDNet that Google's announcement will now take the IT sector into the next phase where the focus is more on research & development and innovation.

"It also gives tremendous confidence to the industry as thousands of jobs, both direct and indirect, would be created besides other opportunities to the IT professionals," Loganathan added.

Software exports from Hyderabad were around $10 billion in 2013-14 and they were said to be around $11 billion in 2014-15, registering a growth of 12 percent.

In a related development, some 20 information technology companies, both international and Indian multi-nationals, are expected to kick start their operations in Hyderabad in the next year, Jayesh Ranjan said.

Without giving the names of these firms, he said that discussions with their representatives were in advanced stages and formal announcements would be made by them soon.