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Insights / Press

What business do we have in Hong Kong?

September 11, 2015
Author Alain VeuveAlain VeuveManaging Director, AOE Switzerland

On September 8th we announced the opening of our office in Hongkong, which marks another important milestone for our company. During the past few days I’ve fielded quite a few questions as to the reasons for this expansion and the considerations that led to the decision. I see three key factors.

Customer Needs

In countless negotiations with customers during the past two years we repeatedly recognized a need to provide services beyond North America and Europe with a locally-based office dedicated to the APAC market. Our customers, mainly multinational companies with offices around the globe, simply want local coverage. It’s not so much about implementing projects directly on-site. On the contrary, we are increasingly reaching the conclusion that “German Engineering” in the software sector is a strong attribute.

It’s more about providing local contacts who speak the same language and – almost more importantly – have the same cultural understanding. Naturally, support also factors heavily into the equation.

A truly international Open Source web integrator in the Enterprise space

Our vision is to become the biggest global Open Source web integrator. With our coverage of Europe and America we are already one of the leading vendors in this area – something also supported by our 250 employees and our extremely high quality standards. The new Hong Kong location will help us reach our goals in two important ways:

  • Firstly, with our new office we will be more attractive for global customers – simply because we can now provide coverage in APAC
  • We think that the Chinese market is still relatively underdeveloped, particularly in E-Commerce. All the more so because most of the activities involve Alibaba and Taobao. We therefore see an excellent opportunity to position ourselves as a “Gateway Provider”. A provider who can not only offer local services, but one who can also pave the way into the Asian E-Commerce market for internationally active corporations. Over and over our experience has been that large companies, though active in China, for instance as manufacturers, have considerable difficulties generating a footprint in the E-Commerce sector. At the same it is our long-term expectation that this effect can also go in the opposite direction: We’re naturally seeking to the be the first point-of-contact for Asian companies who want to enter the European and/or American market and need our comprehensive know-how to accomplish that

A market with virtually inexhaustible potential

Hong Kong is the perfect location, as it is geographically close to Mainland China, but isn't subject to the usual Chinese restrictions. We also see Hong Kong as our hub for the entire APAC market. A market with huge potential – and where there are virtually no active premium Open Source web vendors. It is therefore our goal to become the first choice for omni-channel retailers and pure play E-Commerce companies.

As always, when you take such a step, much is open and unclear. Much is new and unsolved. For this reason we don’t even aspire to begin with a finished concept.

Rather, we will learn from iterations that will help us grow and improve our APAC business – in accordance with our Agile culture. AOE has always been successful at focusing on the right strategy – far removed from short-term financial considerations. This approach has always paid off and I am extremely confident that we can repeat success with our foray into Hong Kong, even though at this time a lot of work still lies ahead of us.