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Tue 11 Sep 2007 02:41 PM

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Raya talks up Egypt as outsourcing hotspot

Call centre subsidiary says strategic location and regional knowledge give it edge over India.

The call centre subsidiary of Egypt's Raya Holding has said its strategic location and regional knowledge gives it an advantage over firms from places like India for companies in the Middle East looking to outsource their customer service operations.

Raya Contact Center (RCC), which is exhibiting among 40 Egyptian companies at this year's GITEX technology trade show in Dubai, said it currently serves companies like Intel and Microsoft but wants to consolidate its regional position in the call centre sector, the world's third-fastest growing ICT market.

"RCC's location in Egypt enables it to provide its services with the highest quality cost effectively with multilingual contact centre representatives, who are fluent in Arabic, English and French, as well as other major languages," said Khaled Shash, chief executive of Raya Contact Center.

"The Middle East has become a significant target market for RCC because our core competencies and services are ideal for the market needs of the region."

Set up in 2001, RCC said it clients are currently served by over 1,800 multilingual agents from its headquarters in Cairo and that being part of Raya has enabled it to target the IT needs of businesses in the region.

RCC is one of three business units in Raya Holding, which in 2006 earned $320 million and has been growing annually at 50% over the last seven years.

The worldwide market for call centres has been estimated to be growing at over 20% per year. Canadian research firm XMG projects the industry's worth will hit $76.3 billion by 2008, with India and the Philippines claiming the most foreign clients.

Race for Middle East

In Egypt, Raya's main competitor is Xceed, a subsidiary of Telecom Egypt, which not only serves the state-owned telecom giant's 8.3 million customers, but private companies such as Showtime Arabia and Nestle.

Egypt, which only began call centres from around 2000, will employ 25,000 call centre agents by 2010 compared with around 10,000 today, according to market analyst Datamonitor.

A study by consulting firm AT Kearney has also ranked the country 12th in a list of customer contact centres worldwide, with the lead naturally taken by India.

Regional competitors include Jordan at 14th place and the UAE at 20th place - the first of whom is also causing a stir at GITEX.

CrysTelCall, Jordan's first contact centre, is exhibiting in Dubai. Based in Amman, the company was set up in January this year with an initial investment of $7.5 million and began operating in May.

With clients such as Jordan Commercial Bank, the UAE-based specialist management firm Tamweel and Canadian Wireless, CrysTelCall has a projected income of $5 million by 2010.

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