Fujitsu takes aim at Big Blue

Fujitsu is hoping to grab an increasing share of business from rival IBM as it pursues plans to reduce its reliance on the stagnant Japanese IT market."Fujitsu still relies significantly on the domestic market, and we'd like to grow our overseas segment to more than 50 percent," chairman Naoyuki Akikusa told 300 international customers at its annual Forum event in Tokyo this week.

Fujitsu is hoping to grab an increasing share of business from rival IBM as it pursues plans to reduce its reliance on the stagnant Japanese IT market.

"Fujitsu still relies significantly on the domestic market, and we'd like to grow our overseas segment to more than 50 percent," chairman Naoyuki Akikusa told 300 international customers at its annual Forum event in Tokyo this week.

Currently, Japan accounts for 67 percent of Fujitsu's revenue, a stark imbalance given that Japan represents only 10 percent of the total world IT market and has a low growth rate of just two percent, according to International Data Corp. Fujitsu's 11 percent share of the Asia-Pacific market is healthier (APAC accounts for 10 percent of global IT spending), but the region is growing much faster (nine percent).

"We have to really grow in the non-Japanese marketplace," concurred Tetsuo Urano, president of Fujitsu's Global Business Group, who said Fujitsu wants to reach a 50:50 revenue split between Japan and the rest of the world by 2009.

While different strategies are being adopted in each region to achieve that goal, a common element is the need to compete more vigorously with IBM, which, like Fujitsu, has a wide spread of business activities ranging from semiconductor design to services. IBM already has the advantage of being much less reliant on its home market (57 percent of its revenues come from outside the US).

Fujitsu's strategies to counter Big Blue include an increasing emphasis on its partnerships with vendors such as Microsoft, though many of the immediate gains are expected to be in replacing aged mainframe systems with newer platforms.

"Only Fujitsu and IBM still have mainframe DNA," said corporate vice president Akira Yamanaka. "We will compete with IBM by providing mainframe class, truly open products."

In the local market, Fujitsu needed to focus on conveying the breadth and reliability of its services to potential customers, said ANZ CEO Rod Vawdrey. Half-a-dozen Australian customers, including representatives from Coles Myer, have travelled to Tokyo for the forum.

Angus Kidman travelled to Tokyo as a guest of Fujitsu.

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