Apple plans India call center

Mac maker says Bangalore facility will help support growing business, but says it's also hiring at two U.S. sites.

Apple Computer said Thursday that it plans to open a call center in India to handle its growing business and continue to expand call centers in the U.S. as well.

The company is in the process of building a Bangalore facility to house the call center.

"Apple has gained millions of new customers in the past year, and we are building a call center in India to help meet our growing service and support needs," an Apple representative said in a statement to CNET News.com.

The company stressed that it isn't cutting any U.S. jobs, noting that its ranks are growing both in the United States and overall. "Our call centers in Austin and Sacramento also continue to grow," the Apple representative said.

The iPod and Mac maker also promised that the quality of its support will not diminish with the new effort.

"This call center will be managed and staffed by Apple employees with the same award-winning service for which Apple is known around the world," Apple said.

The news was reported earlier Thursday by the Times of India, which said that Apple would begin with 1,500 people and have 3,000 workers by the end of next year. Apple would not comment on how many workers would be at the new facility.

Apple is following the lead of many other PC and electronics firms that have set up call centers in India.

In March 2005, Dell cut the ribbon on its third Indian call center. However the company has also been hit with criticism over the quality of its customer support.

In 2003, Dell decided to reroute some corporate support calls back to U.S.-based call centers, but the company has continued to expand in India.

Apple's business has been growing significantly. In the fiscal year that ended in September, Apple posted revenue of $13.93 billion, up 68 percent from the prior year.

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