Software maker shows its dexterity

Updated: 2013-01-24 09:33

By Gao Yuan(China Daily)

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When Haupter, who was born in Stuttgart, Germany, received news of his appointment, his first response was to ask "Why?", he recalled.

Before coming to Beijing, Haupter was the vice-president of Microsoft Germany.

Haupter's work experience in European markets and good relationship with the US headquarters will help Microsoft China enjoy more access to the corporation's global resources. Having a leader with better global vision will also cement China's position as a top market for Microsoft.

"My advantage was that I came from a much smaller market with slower growth prospects. However, we were able to help the companies to generate more profit and increase productivity and be more innovative," he said.

In April 2012, Microsoft's seventh China head made his first trip to the country. "Big" and "very dynamic" were the two deepest impressions the visit left him with.

"When my family and I make decisions to go to a foreign country, we, hopefully, make the best attempt to learn a different culture," he said.

Taking two Mandarin lessons a week, the CEO said he thinks the grammar and sentence structure of Mandarin is much easier compared with German, although he is still working on daily greetings.

Haupter said he is able to appreciate the diversity of the nation because of the number of business trips he makes to local markets.

"It is easy to see China as a country with 1.3-billion-plus people but, if you have seen the provinces, where in one province you have more than 50 ethnic groups and languages, it presents a completely different story," he said.

Having such an understanding about China will certainly help Haupter better plot Microsoft's expansion strategy in the nation, where the US company is eager to reach out.

Microsoft's expansion plans are closely attached to government policies.

Last year, the company said it will add investment and staff in more than 20 Chinese cities to help local governments build "smart cities", a government-led initiative to upgrade municipal services using technology such as cloud computing and digitized data processing systems.

"You have to be really careful when addressing the Chinese market because it is important to fully understand the prevailing conditions locally," said Haupter, adding that picking an area that is in line with the nation's long-term development strategies and local demand is the safest and most reliable way to do business in China.

Microsoft says it plans to add 1,000 new employees to beef up development and service teams in the financial year 2013, a move that will help the company localize its products and services.

It also pledged to invest at least $500 million to boost research and development in a bid to better serve the Chinese customers.

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