ZTE, the partner of choice in the Asia Pacific region? Q&A

Disruptive.Asia recently seized the opportunity to speak to Mr Bai Yang, a Vice President at ZTE, to discuss the company’s plans, opportunities and views on a range of issues that are telecoms operators’ primary focus at the moment. 

Disruptive.Asia: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. So, is 5G your main focus in the Asia Pacific region?

Bai Yang: 5G is one of our main focus. We not only provide superior network products, but also provide integrated solutions based on end-to-end 5G network, 5G terminals and vertical application platforms. Of course, we have many 5G partners in the region, from Bharti Airtel and BSNL in India, True and AIS in Thailand, Digi and Umobile in Malaysia, Telkomsel and Smartfren in Indonesia, Ooredoo Myanmar, Velcom in Belarus. Our role as we see it is to verify new technologies and from that develop new business through strong partnerships.

4G is still a vital part of the business too and we are constantly receiving new orders and keeping discussions going. We recently won a wireless consolidation project with Vodafone IDEA, the largest operator in India. 

Then there is our work in Optical Transport Networks (OTN) where we have won business building the 5G bearer network for SKT as well as the Metro OTN Network for Telkom in Indonesia. We are also continuing our work and partnerships in fixed network projects as well, for instance with True in Thailand, Telkom in Indonesia (where we successfully delivered four million boxes) and Digi in Malaysia – a significant breakthrough for us. Partly because of this ZTE has the largest market share of ‘big video’ in the Asia Pacific region. 

DA: The ICT trend in the Asia Pacific region is obviously very strong, what are your plans for promoting business growth?

Bai Yang: According to Gartner’s forecast, the annual investment in the ICT industry in this region will be stable at more than 40 billion US dollars in the next four years. It is still the most dynamic market and is driving economic development.

5G is a major driver right now – for instance, more than a dozen countries have started the 5G commercialization process, such as South Korea, Australia and Japan.

The other major opportunity is the IoT, partly driven by the potential of 5G as the platform. We are seeing a new, digital ecology emerging – in manufacturing, in transportation, in smart cities – all of which helps countries improve production efficiency and therefore achieve better economic growth. We – and others – see telecoms operators playing an important role in the IoT.

We should, however, not forget 4G. It will remain the focus for operators in the region and the number of 4G connections is expected to double, from one billion to two billion by 2022. In fact, our co-operation on 5G with many operators – particularly with Massive MIMO – has helped achieve 4G commercialization at scale on many networks in India, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and others. We pride ourselves on providing support at scale for 4G which, in turn, helps the smooth evolution to 5G. 

ZTE actively cooperates with top companies in vertical industries, as well as operators, in the fields of big video (VR/AR), car networking, smart grid, smart manufacturing, security surveillance, and environmental protection. Some applications are now forming mature commercial models and we are ready to promote successful roll out in the near future.

DA: What, then, is ZTE’s core strategy – and products – for the Pan Asia Pacific region this year?

Bai Yang: In essence it is about globalization and partnerships – focusing on providing value to customers and countries, while making sure we address the specific needs of our different customers. Partnership and mutual value are key to our strategy.

As to our products, we provide a full range of support for all 5G needs, from Common Core to OTN and we believe in early deployment and being able to address all the different requirements. We have conducted tests to show our leadership in low latency and high speed.

DA: What do you see as ZTE’s core competency in the Asia Pacific region?

Bai Yang: ZTE has a strong track record in the Asia Pacific region, having been operating here for over 20 years. We pride ourselves on our mature technical capabilities, as well as our ability to deliver services and solutions. From this maturity comes our long-term growth. This, and strong partnerships, is delivering value to all parties.

We cover 30 major countries in the region and serve 80 mainstream operators. We have three joint innovation centres, three regional customer service centres, 17 localised ones and five maintenance centres.

And, whilst we continue to help our customers with all aspects of ICT, we are proud to have won the ‘Best 5G Solution Award’ in 2018, as well as ‘Best Access Solution Award’ this year, together with the ‘OTT Platform Innovative Service’ Award from Broadband Forum Asia.

Thank you very much for your insights today.

Since joining ZTE in 2004, Mr. Bai Yang has worked in International Marketing Department, UK Sales Office, GU Product Line and Marketing & Solution Department. He is a graduate of Newcastle University in the UK, where he achieved a telecommunication engineering master’s degree in 2004.

This article was sponsored by ZTE Corporation.

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