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SAP to double programming staff in India

Bangalore development center to become largest outside SAP's home base in Germany.

German software maker SAP plans to hire 1,900 software programmers to work in its Bangalore, India, development center by the end of 2006, the company said Tuesday.

The hiring blitz will bring the work force at the center to 3,000, making it SAP's largest software research and development hub outside Germany, the company said. SAP, headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, plans to spend 20 million euros ($24 million) on the expansion of its Bangalore operations.

SAP Chief Executive Henning Kagermann discussed the move while visiting the Bangalore center this week.

The software maker, which employs 30,000 people worldwide, develops programs that help companies process orders, update staff records, track inventory and manage other business tasks. The company has been expanding its operations in India, which it says is one of the fastest-growing markets for its software, for several years.

Competitors, including Oracle and PeopleSoft, also have opened development centers in India. The country has attracted the information technology industry with a well-educated work force and programmers who work for a fraction of typical American and European wages.

SAP opened its Bangalore lab in 1998 and announced plans last year to pour $120 million into building up business there. The company recently opened a development lab in Shanghai, China.