Cisco Shifts Focus to China From Japan in Asia Reshuffle

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Cisco Systems on Monday announced details of a major revamp of its Asia operations that puts a new emphasis on China and drops Japan to second place.

The company plans to carve a new Greater China Theater, which includes China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, out of its Asia Pacific Theater of operations in order to enable a more focused strategy and investment of resources, it said in a statement on Monday. The Japan Theater fell to a more diminished role than before. The head of Cisco Japan will take over running the Asia-Pacific Theater. The changes mean the Greater China unit will be the only division in the region with its own leadership.

"Given the size and growth of the Chinese economy and our significant commitments to our China business, we believe designating Greater China as its own theater marks an important next step in our strategy," Cisco said.

The three theaters comprise 15 percent of Cisco's worldwide revenue, the company said. The changes will take effect in February.

The head of Cisco's Asia Pacific Theater, Owen Chan, will move to Beijing to serve as president and CEO of the Greater China Theater. Cisco said the Asia Pacific has been one of the company's most consistent and fastest growing regions under Chan's leadership. Jim Sherriff will serve as chairman of the Greater China Theater.

The leader of Cisco Japan, Edzard Overbeek, will take on the added role as head of Asia Pacific Theater. Cisco said Overbeek "has driven growth in an extremely challenging economic environment" since taking over Japan three years ago.

Cisco could not immediately be reached for comment.

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