BT's increased investment this week into the Chinese market will have positive spin-offs for South Africa.
The company used the “New Champions – World Economic Forum” to launch a Technology and Service Centre based in Dalian and a Research & Development Centre based in Shanghai.
BT’s Dalian Technology and Service Centre will provide software development as well as service delivery and a variety of support services.
“This development has relevance to South African companies expanding into China,” comments Dr Brian Armstrong, BT vice-president: Middle East & Africa.
China has a rich pool of software professionals, particularly in areas including software development, integration of software and hardware functionalities and the development of OSS/BSS (Operational and Business Support Systems).
The Dalian Centre will allow BT to tap this pool of local software professionals in order to accelerate integration testing and cut the product enhancement lifecycle in a cost efficient way.
Many BT customers are using local resources who do not necessarily speak English as their primary language. As a result, help desk support in the local language is a key requirement.
In addition to the Dalian Centre, BT's R&D Centre in Shanghai will also work closely with the BT China teams to assist customers and partners in China in harnessing technological innovations and taking on challenges. It will also share technology and service breakthroughs garnered from BT’s global experience from Chinese customers, suppliers and partners.
The new Shanghai Centre will engage in research and development across a broad spectrum of technology areas, from defining new product and service concepts through to development of product prototypes.
Ben Verwaayen, CEO of BT Group, says: “China is now a heavyweight in the global economy and many new and dynamic Chinese enterprises are looking for a partner that can consistently provide world class ICT services to assist their growth into international markets.
"BT is ideally placed to be that partner. In parallel, with more than 400-million rising consumers and the Olympics 2008 around the corner, many global customers are keen to take advantage of China as a key growth market. Those customers want a trusted provider that can support their business critical applications running on top of the network, while bringing a full set of security and performance commitments to their operations.
"The setting up of the Dalian Technology and Service Centre and the R&D Centre in Shanghai will help us guarantee that Chinese and global customers in China receive the same high quality of service we provide in the rest of the world."
China is becoming one of the fastest growing markets in the world and BT is moving to establish centres that will assist and participate in that growth.
According to Gartner, the value of all trade into and out of China has jumped from $510-billion in 2001 to $1,4-trillion in 2005. By 2010, it is expected to reach $2,7-trillion. IDC's Worldwide Black Book forecasts that China's IT market will reach $45,95-billion in 2007, up 16% over 2006. China's IT market was the second largest in Asia in 2006, trailing only Japan.
BT currently serves networked IT services in China to some of the main global corporations and serves the global needs of an increasing number of Chinese enterprises. BT has previously announced a target to more than double its Chinese revenues by 2008-2009.