HP's Whitman calls for SA focus

Johannesburg, 14 May 2012
Read time 2min 30sec

HP CEO Meg Whitman says the tech giant will be making significant financial and technological investments in Africa, with a focus particularly on SA, as well as Kenya and Nigeria.

Whitman addressed journalists last week during the HP Global Influencer Summit 2012, in Shanghai, China, emphasising HP's commitment to investing in the PC market after previous speculations that the company would spin-off its personal computing division.

It has been 10 months since Whitman joined HP's ranks at the company's helm, replacing ousted CEO Leo Apotheker, while her first task was to create stability and provide renewed leadership to the organisation.

Whitman said during the keynote address: “We are very focused on emerging markets, especially BRICS countries. HP has recognised that China is the largest technology market in the world.”

Whitman pointed out that SA is a key market to win other regions in Africa and strengthen HP's market share. “We are determined to strengthen our position in SA, Kenya and Nigeria. Africa is where China was 20 years ago, and is well positioned for a technology revolution.”

James Mouton, senior VP and GM for HP's personal computer global business unit, concurred: “HP recognises the potential of SA, particularly from a sales and services perspective, as well as a product distribution perspective. The rapid growth of emerging countries such as SA is an area that we are focusing on.”

In addition, HP indicated during the Summit that it will increase the amount of investments it makes in research and development in 2012 across the technology group, and will further increase this investment next year in order to plan for the long-term strategy.

Whitman said: “We are at the dawn of a new age of innovation in HP and are committed to research and development, as this is a core part of the company's strategy.”

She indicated that HP is developing “a more co-ordinated approach” to the market. “This is since we announced the decision to bring together the personal computing and printing divisions. This is a unified brand strategy in order to strengthen the business and drive interoperability between devices and this will differentiate our entire product portfolio.”

According to Whitman, HP's combined PC and printer unit, called the printing and personal systems division, accounts for 70% of HP's total global revenue.

Whitman noted that changes to the executive board have also been critical to the tech giant's strategy and admitted that she has been more active on the board than previous CEOs. “We have now refocused the board with new individuals, many of which have been recruited in the past year.”

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