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Adidas to set up its first Asia GCC outside China in Tamil Nadu, ET Retail


Adidas is setting up its first and only global capacity centre (GCC) in Asia outside China in Chennai, to focus on ‘key processes’, sources aware of the developments told ET.

The athletic footwear and apparel giant’s move reinforces the recent boom of multinationals investing in India in large numbers to set up their GCCs to harness the abundant software skills in the country.

The German corporation headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, will set up its Global Business Services (GBS) hub with Akhil Kapoor leading operations. Kapoor’s LinkedIn profile says he is the vice-president – GBS global procurement and head of GBS India with his location listed as Chennai.

“Under his leadership, the hub will play a crucial role in key processes such as source-to-pay (S2P), financial planning & analysis (FP&A), invoice-to-cash (I2C), and record-to-report (R2R),” one source said on the condition of anonymity.

This person added that Adidas anticipates significant growth in its Chennai centre and is planning to add ‘high quality resources’ over the next three to five years.

“The Chennai hub has been designated as the Global Hub, seamlessly integrating with Adidas’ existing hubs in Porto (Portugal), Dalian (China), Bogota (Columbia), and North America to cater to the company’s global operations,” this person said.

Queries sent to Adidas remained unanswered as of press time Wednesday.

Tamil Nadu Industries Minister TRB Rajaa told ET that Chennai is establishing itself as the ‘premier choice’ for GCCs and research & development centres in India.

“We are leveraging our longstanding reputation as a knowledge hub and manufacturing powerhouse, as this foundation has been instrumental in showcasing our talent pool’s capabilities, earning the trust of existing and potential investors. This trend is particularly evident in the footwear sector, where our state already employs a significant number of women, and now, leading footwear brands are considering Chennai for their GCCs,” he said.

Adidas has a corporate office in Gurgaon, but the Chennai facility will be their first GCC outside of China in Asia, sources clarified.

“Marquee brands in the sports brands space setting up GCCs is a significant development,” Lalit Ahuja, founder of ANSR said. “Brands like Nike and Lululemon which dabble in the same space already have their GCCs in India and typically, the size of such GCCs varies from employing 100 to 2000 people.”

The world’s second-largest sporting goods manufacturer’s move to set up their GCC in Chennai is also being viewed as a huge boost for Tamil Nadu’s burgeoning GCC ecosystem. The sports brand joins a number of other global companies setting up their first centres in India in Tamil Nadu in recent times. These include the likes of UPS, Hitachi Energy, ChampionX, JGC, Ashley, FleetCor, Sagent, and Udemy.

“GCCs are embracing Chennai for specialized skills at the intersection of technology and domain, and for growing at scale,” Ramkumar Ramamoorthy, partner with Catalincs told ET. “From what started as the hub for GCCs in the BFSI industry, Chennai today boasts of a diversified canvas across manufacturing, health sciences, telecommunications, logistics, energy and retail.”

He said in logistics, four of the largest container shipping companies, MSC, Maersk, CMA-CGM and Hapag Lloyd, and in retail, the largest brick-and-mortar and online majors, Walmart and Amazon, have their centres in Chennai.

“Just like in traditional IT services, where several majors have their largest global operations here, we are beginning to see GCCs scale their Chennai presence quite rapidly,” Ramamoorthy said.

A recent Colliers report indicated a record gross office absorption of 10.5 million square feet in CY23 in Chennai, a whopping 131% growth over CY22.

“When a company decides to set up a GCC, it is formalizing that whole construct and proceeding in a focused manner in terms of hiring resources that will work in the GCC to support the parent company from an IT, data and other functions perspective,” Ahuja of ANSR said.

While a retail-focused GCC may start off with certain finance and procurement and supply chain functions, they could eventually move up the value chain and bring in more work like product development or development of e-commerce platforms and so on as well, he added.

Adidas is actively recruiting for these functions. ET has reviewed hiring alert posts on LinkedIn for this hub.

One such post around a month ago read, “We are building our innovation team at #AdidasGBSChennai. Join us and be part of #Adidas.” This post was for roles like manager – reporting and performance management, senior specialist – data engineer, business analyst – continuous improvement and senior specialist – ServiceNow.

Kapoor too had posted nine months ago on LinkedIn with a hiring alert that said the sports brand was looking to onboard someone who would manage their strategic supplier relationships.

  • Published On Jan 4, 2024 at 09:02 AM IST

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