Michael Dell, founder of the world’s biggest personal computer maker, said on Monday that Dell would double its workforce in India to 20,000 over the next three years.

The announcement marked the latest expansion of the US group’s ambitions on the subcontinent, which along with China is viewed as a key source of future growth for Dell.

Dell, which empoys 10,000 people in India – mostly in call centres and other business support roles – had previously aimed to expand its staff there to 15,000.

“There is a fantastic opportunity to attract talent,” said Mr Dell, indicating that the company would place an emphasis on attracting engineers.

An expanded presence could help Dell capture more market share in India, which accounts for 4 per cent of overall PC sales.

Kevin Rollins, Dell’s chief executive, said this month in an interview with the FT that attracting talented overseas employees was a top priority for the $56bn computer giant as it pursues a goal of $80bn in annual revenues.

Dell, which has previously announced plans to build a new computer factory in India, has also been investing in new call centres to take advantage of the country’s large population of fluent English speakers.

Unlike some other manufacturers, which long ago shifted the bulk of their production overseas, Dell has maintained a strong manufacturing presence in the US. The company’s direct business model, in which the company sells computers directly to customers over the telephone and internet, calls for Dell to position manufacturing facilities as close to its customers as possible.

Dell, which operates two factories in China in addition to others in the US and Europe, has been increasingly relying on growth in emerging markets to offset sluggish sales growth in more mature markets, such as Europe and the US.

Sales of computers outside the US accounted for 43 per cent of the company’s revenue in the fourth quarter, up from 40 per cent in the previous quarter. Sales in Asia, including Japan, jumped 27 per cent in the period, compared with growth of just 10 per cent in the company’s core US market.

Weak revenue growth and falling profit margins led Dell to miss sales targets in two successive quarters last year and have sent shares in the company down more than 30 per cent over the past nine months.

Mr Dell said on Monday that the company had been in discussions with several state governments about possible locations for its new factory in India, but that no decisions had been taken.

Shares in Dell were up 2.3 per cent at $29.75 by midday New York trading.

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