Consolidating the belief that rural sector is the new alternative market, India’s largest home finance company, Housing and Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), has picked up a 26% stake in Bangalore based rural BPO firm, RuralShores, reports The Economic Times. The start up was floated by 6 technocrats last year. 

RuralShores plans to link up about 500 locations with populations below 20,000 to the BPO sector in the next seven years. The company’s promoters include former E&Y executive V V Ranganathan, Mastek MD Sudhakar Ram, former MD of Xansa India Murali Vullaganti and G Srinivas of Dawn Consulting.

The company is looking at setting up 80-100 seater centers in towns with populations of 10,000- 15,000 with clusters of villages around them. Each of the company’s center employs about 150-200 people.  Currently, the firm operates two such centers. While one of its center is located at Bagepalli, the other is at Ratnagiri, near Vellore in Tamil Nadu. The Ratnagiri center operates along with the local schools around it.

With the demand in the urban areas drying up, many companies are now looking at the rural markets. The Steel Authority of India, country’s largest steel manufacturer recorded a rise in volume sales by more than 10% in the quarter ended December 31, 2008, as it saw increased demand in the country’s villages. The company also plans to expand its rural distribution network to sustain demand.

Recently, Chennai based technology products company, Novatium Solutions tied up with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to roll out broad band services with its ‘thin client’ technology in rural areas.

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