IBM at 100 tightens China links

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 June, 2011, 12:00am


As the company marks its centennial today, International Business Machines is sharpening its focus on helping more Chinese companies expand overseas and enabling Hong Kong enterprises to build their businesses across the mainland.

'We're bringing a lot of expertise to support the growth of both mainland and Hong Kong companies,' said Tony Tai Chak-tong, who was named last month as the new general manager of IBM China/Hong Kong.

Tai said IBM was making a big push to expand the adoption of so-called advanced business analytics and cloud computing technologies, to enable mainland and Hong Kong enterprises to become 'smarter' amid increased competition in domestic and international markets. Business analytics are designed to meet customers' needs to cut costs, reduce risk, combat fraud and increase profitability by analysing trends and patterns found in historical and current data.

'This is a high-value solution that gives a competitive advantage to both large and small companies, as they are able to decide how best to transform elements of their business, such as marketing campaigns, based on the improved insight,' Tai said.

IBM last year formed a predictive analytics software lab in Xian, Shaanxi province, which became part of the company's Beijing-based China Development Laboratory, with more than 5,000 software engineers.

Cloud computing enables companies to buy, subscribe to and receive over the internet a range of lower-cost software, information and other shared resources hosted elsewhere, such as data storage capacity, as a service that is on demand, just like electricity from the grid. 'Cloud' refers to the internet, which is depicted in that form in computer network diagrams.

In April, IBM started offering its 'SmartCloud Enterprise' service in Hong Kong, providing companies a secure hub on the internet to run their business applications, which is a more cost-efficient way than buying and maintaining the hardware and software on their premises.

IBM, founded in 1911 and once the world's leading computer maker, has transformed itself over the past decade into a powerhouse in business software, information technology services and high-performance server computers.

The New York-based company, which started its operations in Hong Kong in April 1957 and on the mainland in 1979, has been an influential industry leader in both markets. It supported, for example, the integration of information technology systems used by the Mass Transit Railway Corp and the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation when the two firms merged in 2007.

Carter Lusher, chief analyst at the market research firm Ovum, described IBM as 'a mega vendor', one of a handful of companies that has helped shape the global information technology industry.

'IBM just doesn't provide products and services, but it dramatically impacts the IT vision and strategies of organisations around the globe,' Lusher said.