If anyone has the tools, expertise and experience to make a success of the Greater Bay Area (GBA) initiative, major US tech conglomerate Dell Technologies does, with its portfolio of offerings from Edge (IoT) to Core (Data Center) to Cloud.
Dell Technologies has built on its Hong Kong beginnings more than 30 years ago and now boasts an extensive, mature and well-connected business network across the whole of China.
According to Sean Lee, the company's Managing Director, Global Transformation Office, that market expansion during the past two decades, which includes business and operations in cities covered by the GBA initiative – has not only put the company on a sound business footing on the mainland but also enabled Dell Technologies to develop crucial relationships at central, provincial and municipal government levels. This gives the company a deep understanding of how things work in one of the world’s most complex and challenging marketplaces
Lee knows the company has already tackled its fair share of obstacles in doing business in the country, saying: “Due to the experience we have accumulated over the years in China – including across the GBA – many of our clients see us as more than simply a tech company. They see us as a trusted partner they can collaborate with, one which makes things happen for them. This is because we know how to run a fully inclusive business channel both inside and outside of China.”
How GBA Push Can “Lift All Boats”
Lee does not agree with those who suggest the GBA initiative is about upgrading the role of some cities and downgrading that of others. It is, he says, “a rising tide lifting all boats”.
“At the moment, there is a lot of talk about the GBA. This consultative phase is very necessary and it will take some time to turn discussion and agreement into solid plans. However, I am confident that all the consultation will lead to action. If the government is putting time and resources into the GBA then of course this is going to lift all boats, so to speak, and we want to be part of that. We expect more growth, absolutely.
“Generally speaking, the component parts of the GBA have between them strong legal and international governance, and robust technology and manufacturing capabilities, along with a very sizeable and well-off population. This makes for a very interesting zone. Can it rival San Francisco Bay or Tokyo Bay? Yes, but it is a bit more complicated,” he says.
Lee believes that in the cases of San Francisco and Tokyo you are dealing with a single, already unified zone under one set of rules and regulations. However, in the GBA there are different legal, regulatory and cultural factors that need to be knitted together and this will make the initiative more challenging to pull off. But he is confident that with full collaboration and transparency this can be done – and is the critical thing to do.
“I don’t buy the argument that the GBA initiative is an attempt to upgrade some cities and downgrade others,” says Lee. “I really think – because of the factors I outlined above – that it truly can lift all boats. If we all charge in the same direction, everyone will be a winner.”
Special GBA Experts
To meet this challenge, Dell Technologies – which employs more than 40,000 people across China – is forming dedicated expert teams in both their Hong Kong and southern China offices.
“We have Greater Bay ‘specialists’, if you like. It is still very much in the early stages because at this point no one knows exactly how this government initiative is going to play out. We are talking to our customers, we are talking to our peers and even our competitors. We are a big technology provider so it is our responsibility to play a leading role.”
Lee says Hong Kong remains a strong financial hub and adds that a significant segment of the company’s business is with banks and insurers. These financial services institutions are increasingly turning their focus towards cross-border technology issues such as data privacy, information flow, virtual banking and latency requirements (i.e., the time it takes for a packet of data to get from one point to another) within the GBA, as well as across the broader Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in China and beyond. This is where the company’s extensive experience in international trade and supply chain know-how is beneficial to ensuring the necessary proficiency for the implementation and governance processes.
A Greater Bay Ecosystem
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