Hong Kong's PCCW to expand in China as partner SAP chases e-commerce market
PCCW Solutions, Hong Kong’s biggest information technology services provider, is furthering its expansion in China under a broader alliance with German software giant SAP.
“Together, we both have a fairly strong capability in southern China. We’re now looking to expand that [to the rest of the country],” Mark Gibbs, the president of SAP Greater China, said on Tuesday.
The initiative will see PCCW Solutions, which operates under PCCW Group, owned by Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li Tzar-kai, provide systems integration services for the next-generation e-commerce and marketing solutions of hybris software, an SAP company.
SAP, the world’s largest provider of enterprise application software, acquired hybris in 2013. It provides multi-language, multi-currency customer engagement and commerce (CEC) software used by companies for business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce operations.
One of the key components of hybris’ CEC solution is its marketing feature, which unifies a company’s customer data into one centralised hub.
That setup is supposed to help companies deliver a consistent, contextual buying experience, in which a customer can move from an online store to a physical one, while the brand still remembers their preferences, previous searches and pricing parameters.
“Our criteria is that if you sell something, you need an e-commerce solution,” Gibbs said. “We see this as a growth area for both SAP and PCCW Solutions.”
The two companies, however, face stiff competition from other multinational e-commerce software providers in the market, including Oracle, IBM and NetSuite.
Internet consultancy iResearch has forecast the gross merchandise volume of mainland China’s e-commerce market to reach 15 trillion yuan (US$2.4 trillion) this year, up from 12.3 trillion yuan last year.
It is estimated that SMEs’ business-to-business e-commerce activities made up 50 per cent of last year’s total e-commerce market in mainland China.
SAP started operating in Greater China 23 years ago. It counts more than 13,000 business customers in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the mainland. About 75 per cent of those SAP software users are SMEs.
Ramez Younan, the managing director at PCCW Solutions, pointed out that the company provided SAP with a partner that is “closer to the customers and has the expertise to offer solutions at a price point for this market”.
He said PCCW Solutions and hybris will develop integrated go-to-market strategies for the consumer products, wholesale distribution, logistics, retail and manufacturing industries in Hong Kong and mainland China.