MUMBAI, India — Between piles of trash and stray dogs near a Mumbai slum is the entrance to MoFirst Solutions, where two dozen workers sit shoulder-to-shoulder with no air-conditioning and write code for iPhone apps on laptops.
"The rates Indian developers charge are very low," said Akash Dongre, chief operating officer at MoFirst Solutions, where clients pay as little as $15 an hour for a programmer.
MoFirst is tapping India's next wave in outsourcing, with thousands of programmers that charge a fraction of Silicon Valley prices to capitalize on demand for programs for Apple's iPhone and devices running Google's Android software. Developers-for-hire for mobile applications may generate $5.6 billion in revenue by 2015, a 14-fold jump from this year, Forrester Research estimates.
"India is a logical place to do it for the same reason the software and services model has worked here: lower cost," said Anshul Gupta, an analyst at research firm Gartner in Mumbai.
Applications on Apple's online store have been downloaded more than 15 billion times since its opening in 2008 — with the Cupertino, Calif.-based company getting a 30 percent cut on each sale.
Companies or individuals seeking to hire can turn to sites such as Elance Inc.'s service, where companies such as MoFirst will bid to win app-development projects lasting from a couple of weeks to several months.
India is the world's largest recipient of outsourcing orders, according to Elance, whose website recently showed more than 450,000 professionals offering their services.
Requests for programmers who write code for Apple's iOS platform rose 20 percent in the second quarter, according to Mountain View, Calif.-based Elance.
Demand for programmers with Android skills rose by 15 percent, while developer requests for Research In Motion's Blackberry devices increased by 3 percent, according to the company.