NEC forms high-level China office

NEC Corp. has formed a high-level steering committee and corporate office to take charge of its business strategy in China and attempt to capitalize on the changing business environment in the country as a result of its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The China business development steering committee and office was established on July 1 and is headed by Shunichi Suzuki, a senior vice president and board member of NEC. It takes a place in the corporate food-chain just one step below Koji Nishigaki, president and chief executive officer of NEC, and is the only such steering committee in the company at this level that is concentrated on only one country.

“Its position reflects the importance with which NEC views the China market,” said Daniel Mathieson, a spokesman for NEC in Tokyo. “The China market is one that NEC and most Japanese companies are putting a lot of emphasis on at this stage. With its entry into WTO, new companies are appearing all the time and the economic environment is changing fast.”

“All NEC companies are doing business in China and this office will oversee the work they are all doing and try to find synergies between the various businesses, facilitate alliances and look for investment opportunities,” he said.

So far this year, NEC has extended its business in China in a number of different areas.

Most recently, it took steps to advance its cellular handset business in China, the world’s largest mobile telephony market, when it started supplying a version of its popular clamshell phone to China Mobile Communications Corp. The handset, which includes a 1.9-inch colour screen and supports GPRS (general packet radio service), also allows access to wireless Internet services.

NEC has also signed a number of alliances or letters of intent with domestic companies to establish production centres in China, including a joint venture with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to manufacture 3G cellular telephone handsets and a venture with Shanghai General Electronics (Group) Co. Ltd. (SVA) to establish a TFT (thin film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) joint venture in Shanghai by the end of this year.

This year also saw the establishment on March 1 of a new software development centre focused on telecommunication network infrastructure systems at two sites in Beijing and Shanghai.