US tech firm Cisco is planning to invest more than $10 billion USD in China-focussed partnerships and investment over the coming years. The company made the announcement this Wednesday as Chief Executive John Chambers visited Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang. Chambers’ soon-to-be replacement Chuck Robbins also travelled to China as part of the trip.
The company has made it clear they will be working closely with the government following their political goodwill visit. They said in their statement that they will strive to support local innovation, one of the Chinese government’s recent policy hooks in technology.
Cisco also revealed they have signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s National Development and Reform Commission, aiming to also expand R&D, employment and equity investment.
CEO John Chambers recently said that “the rules of the road” have to be set for governments in relation to surveillance operations. Last year it was alleged by journalist Glen Greenwald that the NSA had targeted “load stations” to implant beacons and servers for surveillance activity.
at the time Chambers said in an open letter to Barack Obama that “we ship out products from locations inside, as well as outside the United states, and if these allegations are true, these actions will undermine confidence in our industry and the ability of technology companies to deliver products globally.”
Since the NSA revelations in 2013, the business ecosystem for technology giants in China has become prickly. Cisco’s sales in China fell almost 20% in the quarter ending this April compared to their earnings a year earlier. In 2013, the company saw a similar 18% quarterly earnings drop, at the time Chambers pointed to the “impact in China” of the NSA revelations as a key factor in the dip during an earnings call.
At the same time, China has been leaning toward increasingly protectionist tech policies at home. They recently made a push to convert their banking system to local technology suppliers by 2020, but later put the plan on hold amid fears it would cause weaknesses in the industry.
Earlier this month the company flattened out its management in China by getting rid of several executives. the company’s China-side reshuffle comes as company leadership is shifting globally. Cisco’s CEO John Chambers is expected to step down and hand the reins over to replacement Chuck Robbins in the next month.
Image Credit: Cisco CEO John Chambers, Shutterstock.