Reg man says '拜拜' to Honkers, ponders Asia's future role in tech world

Asia dominates mobile agendas: can it do the same for enterprise tech?

Back to the enterprise

When it comes to enterprise software, Asia is far behind the rest of the world. Software accounted for just eight per cent of total IT spending in China in 2013, according to Forrester stats. “Decisions are still made by senior executives based on their experience rather than computer-aided calculations. It still happens nowadays despite rising investment overall in IT,” said Forrester’s Bryan Wang.

“This means that Asian software companies or SaaS providers are not able to get potential customers to realise the value of their offerings.”

With this cultural backdrop it’s no surprise Wang regarded the chances of the next SAP coming from the region as “very unlikely”. However, there’s a different avenue by which Asia’s biggest technology firms can still influence global agendas.

Alibaba and Tencent have already had a “huge” impact on the retail and finance sectors in China, expanding from origins in e-commerce and social media/messaging respectively, said Wang. Alibaba, for example, is starting to provide CRM, supply chain management and other cloud-based services to customers on top of regular e-commerce capabilities and this will only expand further as it grows.

“They’ll have a domestic focus for the next two to three years but in the longer term Alibaba and Tencent will both have to grow beyond [China] to support their share price,” he told El Reg.

“They both have strong teams in Silicon Valley where they can keep an eye on what’s happening globally and grab some of that opportunity if it appeals. They both have the potential to become successful software and services firms globally.”

Wang also pointed to Huawei, which has significant scale and presence in global markets thanks to its heritage in the telecoms space, as a potential leader in enterprise IT once it begins to innovate in software.

“It needs a couple more years to be truly innovative on the software side. Most European/Asia customers of its enterprise business are customers because of the TCO benefits rather than because of market leading innovation,” he added.

“However, it’s non-listed so it has been able to invest in new areas aggressively.”

The Chinese government certainly sees innovation as the key to becoming a “world technological power” by 2049, although it’s never made clear whether this means micro-innovation of the sort Chau pointed to or something more fundamental. Either way, with the Communist Party’s Central Committee Politburo behind efforts to become an “innovation-oriented country” by 2020 you can be sure significant sums of money and resources will be spent to achieve these ambitious ends.

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