BT Global Services expands in Asia, MEA

BT Global Services announced yesterday it will continue its expansion in the region, with plans to add another 400 people across Asia, the Middle East and Africa – a new regional grouping the company initiated just a few months ago.
Speaking in Kuala Lumpur, where the company launched its eighth technology showcase center, Kevin Taylor, president of BT Asia, the Middle East and Africa, said the three regions are united by macro-economic trends. These include strong economic growth, an expanding middle class and a growing population that is still dominantly young.
Bilateral trade within the region is expanding 30% per year, and China is investing in 49 countries in Africa and the Middle East. Taylor noted the integrated market will account for 75% of world’s population by 2030.
While not specifying a figure for the region, Taylor said BT was investing $600 million annually on expanding its global services reach.
The new three-year plan, referred to internally as “Prosperity Plus”, is a follow-up on its previous “Prosperity” plan, which saw a major expansion of staff and capabilities in the region. The company has added more than 1,800 positions over the past three years, with 600 already hired for its global development center in Bangalore and 600 to be added to its facility in Kuala Lumpur.
The new round of hiring, which will boost headcount by 15% from the current base of about 3,000 in the combined region, will be focused on Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, India, China, Turkey, the UAE and South Africa.
The hires will include 50 industry experts focused on sectors such as consumer product goods, financial services, health and logistics. Another 60 will be added to its professional services group in 11 markets.
In terms of infrastructure, BT is also adding five new IP and Ethernet PoPs, starting with India and Turkey, as well as four NNIs with partners in India, Indonesia and the UAE. It currently has 64 PoPs in the region.
Taylor said its has seen strong growth in emerging multinationals, such as HTC, Haier and Emirates, which now accounts of 54% of its business compared to 47% three years ago. Meanwhile, business from global multinationals has dropped to 40% of the total from 47% three years ago.
Industry analysts, however, noted that the emerging market clients tend to be more price sensitive than their global counterparts, since they are used to much lower prices on bandwidth and services in markets such as China and India.
Pointing out a few results of its past three-year turnaround plan, Taylor said its win rate on new business is up to 50% from 30%. And business has grown 20% year on year, which he said was three times faster than the market growth and its competitors.
BT Group CEO Gavin Patterson, who was also in KL for the official launch of the technology showcase facility and a new service assurance center, pointed out that cost transformation is still important for driving profitable revenue growth.
Patterson, at the helm for just 12 weeks, said BT is counting on five initiatives to drive growth: high-speed broadband in the UK, which will cover 80% of the population next year; TV and sports content (it recently acquired the rights to Champions League Football in the UK); IT services globally and in the UK; mobility (it has purchased spectrum in the UK) through innovative converged cellular and Wi-Fi offerings; and investments in high-growth regions – the plan outlined by Taylor.
He said about 50% of total revenue comes from outside of UK. That number will increase as growth opportunities are stronger outside the UK.