JAPANESE system integration giant NTT Data last week formally opened a regional branch office in Hong Kong and representative offices in Beijing with the immediate aim of servicing other Japanese multinationals in the territory. Though the dominant system integration and computer networking company in Japan, NTT Data - a wholly-owned subsidiary of the telecommunications conglomerate NTT - is largely unknown in international markets. But this low profile belies its size and financial strength: in the last financial year NTT Data's revenues were about US$4.5 billion. In fact, NTT Data president and chief executive Shirou Fujita claims the company is second only to the General Motors subsidiary Electronic Data Systems (EDS) as the world's largest systems integrator. Mr Fujita said the firm's Hong Kong office would be used both to support NTT Data's ambitious plans to penetrate the mainland market, and as a spring-board to developing new business in Southeast Asian markets of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Hong Kong is only NTT Data's third international office, following the establishment of regional offices in New York and London, and will be used as the headquarters for all the firm's Asia business outside of Japan. The company was spun off as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) in 1988, having originally been NTT's in-house computing resource - much as EDS had been for General Motors. Mr Fujita said the establishment of a Hong Kong office was part of a concerted drive into international markets under its 'globalising by localising' strategy - something known within NTT Data under the somewhat clumsy term 'glocalising'. The company scored its first 'foot-hold' contract in China in June of this year, winning a contract with China's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) to design and build an on-line system for Beijing's postal saving services. The system will be modelled on the Postal Banking Service On-Line System that NTT pioneered in Japan about 20 years ago, which has developed into the largest postal banking system in the world, linking 24,000 post offices. NTT Data's newly installed Hong Kong branch manager Yoshio Matsuzaki said the initial business target in Hong Kong would be in the financial community - initially with the Japanese multinational institutions with whom the company has strong relations in Japan. The telecommunications industry and government administration systems would also be key areas of focus, he said. Company chief executive Mr Fujita said the Hong Kong office would provide the full range of NTT Data service offerings. The firm concentrates on four key processes, from strategic planning, including the drafting of strategic systems solutions; systems planning, based on a multi-vendor philosophy whereby hardware and software is drawn from a variety of sources; system design and installation; and systems maintenance and facilities management.