Zoho waives off fee for small businesses amid Covid-19 crisis

Zoho waives off fee for small businesses amid Covid-19 crisis
Photo Credit: Pixabay
20 Mar, 2020

Zoho, the Chennai based software-as-a-service company, has made its products free for around 20,000 of its paying customers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the business emergency subscription assistance programme (ESAP), Zoho customers with 25 or fewer employees will be able to access its products for free for the next three months. 

The highly contagious virus Covid-19, which stands for Coronavirus disease-2019, has spread to over 150 countries within a period of over 80 days since its outbreak.

READ: Coronavirus outbreak: India’s IT services firms move to contain risk and ensure business continuity  

"Businesses are hurting. They already face tremendous pressure on revenue and cash flows. Not knowing when things will get back to normal is making the situation worse. Every bit of help we, and other companies, can offer to keep these small businesses afloat will go a long way, not just financially but emotionally as well," Sridhar Vembu, co-founder and CEO, Zoho said in a statement.

Early this week, Zoho posted a strong set of earnings numbers, for the financial year 2018-19, led by a strong sales growth. The company’s consolidated revenue from operations grew 37% during the year to Rs 3,307 crore from Rs 2,412 crore in the previous year. Its net profit grew to Rs 516 crore, up 26% compared to the previous year at Rs 408 crore.

The 24-year old bootstrapped company has more than 50 million users located in over 180 countries. The company recently launched Remotely, a virtual productivity platform of 11 collaboration applications. 

Around 5,000 new companies are using the new platform since its launch two weeks ago, Zoho said, adding that it has seen an average of 500% growth in usage of its collaboration apps.

READ: After Google, Mindtree and Dell, HCL employee found Covid-19 positive

"Certain industries have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and we strongly encourage our customers in these industries to apply for this programme. While we want to provide relief to as many small business customers as possible, we will prioritize those who are most in need. We hope that others, who can adapt to the market conditions, will help us by allowing this program to remain available for those struggling to stay afloat," Vembu added.

Other technology companies have also pitched in to support the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Search engine giant Google, for example, has set up a fund for its temporary employees and third-party staff members. The fund will help those affected by the virus to take paid sick leaves.

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Chinese ecommerce major Alibaba, has rolled out artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud-based technology solutions to help researchers and healthcare workers communicate.

Facebook-owned multimedia messenger app, WhatsApp has launched WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub in partnership with the United Nations Children's Fund, World Health Organisation (WHO), and the United Nations Development Programme to curb misinformation on its platform.

The company has also donated $1m to the Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).