Indian tech firm bets big on growth out of its UAE hub

Zoho revenues grew 43% last year


Somshankar Bandyopadhyay

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Hyther Nizam, MEA President at Zoho Corp. — Supplied photo
Hyther Nizam, MEA President at Zoho Corp. — Supplied photo

Published: Sun 31 Mar 2024, 1:03 PM

Recent years have seen a surge in adoption by large enterprises. As competition drives up costs and the global economy slows, companies are re-evaluating their tech investments. Zoho, a global technology company based out of India, recently reported 43 per cent revenue grwoth last year, has become a major force in the business technology industry, with over 100 million users worldwide.

“Our journey in the Middle Eat and North Africa (Mena) region began with our first office in Dubai, which served as a springboard for further growth. We’ve focused on empowering SMEs and entrepreneurs across all sectors. Zoho has become the preferred choice for large corporations, offering a comprehensive suite to manage all aspects of their operations,” Hyther Nizam, President and VP of Products for Middle East and Africa (MEA) at Zoho, told Khaleej Times in an interview.

The company was one of the early adopters of artificial intelligence over a decade ago, well before AI became mainstream. Also, Zoho has been a key supporter of businesses’ digitalisation. Its wallet credit provision programmes are in place with government entities across the region including Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), Dubai Culture and International Free Zone Authority (IFZA) to name a few. “This has enabled over 5000 companies in UAE alone transition to the cloud, and accelerate digital transformation,” Nizam said.

With the cost of sales and marketing on the rise, Zoho sees pricing strategies across the industry getting impacted. “Businesses seeking value may find opportunities with vendors who prioritise research and development (R&D) over large marketing budgets. Currency fluctuations can also add complexity for businesses operating in international markets. Vendors offering local currency pricing can provide greater cost predictability. Ultimately, a focus on value and affordability is likely to be a key driver for business technology decisions in the coming years. By prioritising R&D to deliver greater value, Zoho is well-positioned to capitalise on this shift,” Nizam said.

There has been surge in migration by large corporations to Zoho platforms, which saw a 24% increase in 2023. “The past few years have been a whirlwind of challenges for businesses globally, from the pandemic’s financial strain to the looming economic slowdown. In such times, companies need to make smarter investments, focusing on cost-efficiency and maximising value,” Nizam said.

In the Mena region, Zoho is actively collaborating with public and private sector organisations. “This close partnership allows us to continuously assess local needs and tailor our solutions to address regional challenges. We’ve significantly bolstered our localisation strategy in recent years, expanding our portfolio of regionally-specific solutions and features,” Nizam said.

Zoho is doubling down on its localisation efforts by introducing regionally-specific product editions. “This focus will continue, with planned integrations with local payment vendors to further enhance user experience. Additionally, Zoho is committed to developing contextually relevant AI features within its core products. This ensures AI functionalities address the specific needs of local customers within the product itself,” Nizam said.

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