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Huawei is mostly known for providing telecom equipment to telecommunication companies. But in recent years, it has also started to become active in the content business, working with content providers who produce applications such as mobile games and mobile social networks.
Why content? Zou Kewei, vice president of business development and global alliance of Huawei, says that telcos now do not just want equipment from them. To succeed in today’s digital world, the telcos need content, both local and global content providers. That is where Huawei saw an opportunity. If it could bring Chinese companies to each of the various telcos globally, it would form a winning synergy between the telcos, the content provider, and Huawei. The timing seems perfect as more and more Chinese tech companies are looking to expand internationally.
We have seen enough examples with Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent leading the international expansion front. Indonesia, as Zou says, is perfect for most Chinese companies for expansion. He added:
Indonesia’s culture is slightly more similar to the Chinese market. It is easier for Chinese companies to expand here. A lot of companies now have the power to explore overseas markets.
Indonesia has a a lot of potential and opportunities. Indonesia is in a similar situation to China a couple of years ago. We believe some of the successful case studies in mainland china may succeed in Indonesia.
Just last month, Huawei brought a group of Chinese tech companies to Jakarta, Indonesia. These companies included the likes of Chinese search engine giant Baidu and games company Boyaa. The trip aimed to help bridge the gap between local telcos (including XL, Telkomsel, Telkom, and Indosat) and the group of Chinese tech companies. The formula seems perfect.
The telcos have close ties with Huawei, which is leveraging this relationship to connect them with other Chinese companies. The same bridging between local telcos and Chinese companies is also happening in North and Latin America, Europe, and some parts of Southeast Asia. Zou remarked:
We can be the hub for introducing successful apps and content to telco players here. We have strong relationships with telcos and have strong connections in the market. So our partners will usually look for us for help. We focus on platforms and building an ecosystem so other Chinese companies can enter easily.
Of course connections aren’t the only factor to becoming successful in the local markets. Zou emphasized that companies who want to succeed in countries like Indonesia need to be dedicated and localized enough to win in the market.
“Content is a cultural-based service and it needs to be highly localized,” he said. He emphasized the need for foreign companies to work with local companies and people in order to achieve proper localization.
“Chinese application players will be booming in the next five years. Maybe one day the number one app will come from China.”
Huawei definitely isn’t going to enter into the application and content creation business, but it will probably play a part in helping Chinese tech companies to expand globally through its guanxi (relationships) with the telcos of the world.
This article by Willis Wee originally appeared on Tech in Asia, a Burn Media publishing partner.