International business giant Hitachi is partnering with Microsoft to develop a new software business in Fargo within a year.
Hitachi Senior Vice President Mike Gillis said the business will start small with about 20 employees. But he expects to add hundreds of software development and support jobs over the next several years.
"Fargo offers outstanding value. Highly productive and educated people with a sense of community and midwestern values," Gillis said. "There's a lot of great colleges in this area."
Gillis said productivity of workers and a strong pro-business climate make Fargo competitive.
"Any time you can exploit the productivity of the workers here it becomes an advantage," he said.
He said the presence of Microsoft's second-largest campus is also a key attraction. Microsoft employs 1,700 people in Fargo.
Hitachi Consulting has 5,000 employees worldwide. Its parent company Hitachi employs 450,000 people.