Hewlett-Packard touts viability, courts customers in China

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Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman stressed her company's future viability as HP tried to win Chinese business customers at an event in Beijing last week.

"Believe me, HP is here to stay," Whitman said in a keynote at the HP World Tour in Beijing. "We've come a long way since I joined Hewlett Packard 20 months ago."

HP has made the rapidly-growing Chinese market a strong international focus. Whitman and other HP officials took their case directly to Chinese businesses at a two-day event, which for businesses focused on storage, big data, cloud and printing.

The speech marked Whitman's third trip to China. She said she has spoken to 525 Chinese customers and 225 partners in the last year.

"The first thing I heard is you have to have confidence in HP's future," Whitman said. "Done—we've strengthened our financial performance, we have a healthier balance sheet, strong cash flow, and we stabilized our business."

Customers have also demanded innovation from within HP, she said. "Today, we are investing more in R&D than ever before. While we have more work to do, we're making great progress."

HP sees great opportunity in China, according to Anneliese Olson, HP vice president of computing solutions for Asia-Pacific and Japan.

"There's no question that China is going to be the largest PC market in the world at some point in time," she told journalists. "China is at the center of what we're doing."

A 'new style of IT'

In her keynote, Whitman said the IT industry is at a "major inflection point" driven by cloud, security, big data, and mobility.

"The shift also changes the way technology is consumed, delivered and paid for," she said. And this shift demands what we call the new style of IT, which in reality is a new style of business that is powered by IT."

Meg Whitman HP CEO
Meg Whitman

Whitman pointed to a data explosion as a major driver for change in the IT industry. "Data is being generated and created by cameras, by sensors, phones, GPS-enabled devices, and transaction systems. Thinking about the data centre alone, you know that we are on a path that is not sustainable in terms of energy, space and cost."

Large cloud and Web services will have an installed base of 8 to 10 million servers over the next three years, Whitman said. "If laid end to end, the space that these servers will occupy will be the equivalent of the distance between Tiananmen Square to the Summer Palace in China. And to build these data centers will cost anywhere between $10 and $20 billion U.S. dollars."

In separate remarks, HP Chief Operating Officer Bill Veghte said that consumers are driving business IT.

"The opportunity that HP sees in front of it is to deliver consumer-quality experiences without compromise in the enterprise," Veghte said.

The IT shift provides opportunities for businesses to save money while increasing speed, agility and simplicity, Whitman said.

"IT is no longer just about keeping computers running, is it? It is now a critical strategic factor in determining whether your organization will win or lose in the marketplace," she said. "You're no longer down in the engine room. You're up on the bridge consulting with the captain."

This story, "Hewlett-Packard touts viability, courts customers in China" was originally published by Computerworld Australia.

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