IDC: Asia-Pacific call center services set to grow

By 2005, the Singapore call center services market is set to grow to US$117 million up from $54 million last year.

"As the growth numbers highlight, there are still considerable opportunities for the market in Singapore," said Phil Hassey, senior analyst, IS outsourcing, of International Data Corp. (IDC). "In comparison with most countries within the region, Singapore has a liberalized economy with deregulated and competitive communications and services sectors. In addition, it is able to provide the required infrastructure for the development of call centers."

The outsourcing call center provider market is more open with the two major global players Teletech Holdings and Sitel having established a strong presence here, said Hassey. However, these two do not dominate and face significant and growing competition from local operators such as Singapore Telecommunications and other rapidly establishing operators.

"The local market, from a systems integration perspective, is dominated by global players such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM and Accenture, with strong competition coming from local firms such as National Computer Systems and Singapore Computer Systems," he pointed out.

On a broader scale, the Asia Pacific call center services market will grow from $1.2 billion last year to over $4 billion in 2005.

There are considerable opportunities for firms to use Singapore as a base to manage outsourced call center operations in lower-cost countries such as India, the Philippines, Malaysia and China.

However, at a compound annual growth rate of 22 percent, the growth of the local market is below the regional average of 26 percent per annum.

Despite the growth potential throughout the region, this growth has not been uniform, said Hassey.

Enormous opportunities exist for call center integrators and outsourcers across the region, particularly in India, China and Australia. These opportunities include implementation, operation and training, with the compound annual growth rates (CAGR) from 2000 to 2005 across the region are expected to be in excess of 25 percent.

IDC expects that this growth to create significant opportunities for vendors to either increase existing capabilities in the market or for new consultants and operators to enter the market.

Significant investment and development of call center capabilities is occurring in India and China is expected to follow this trend. Smaller nations such as Malaysia and the Philippines are developing strategies at a national level to ensure that they gain a share in the market place.

India and China are expected see growth rates in excess of 40 percent and 50 percent respectively.

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