HP CEO Whitman: We are proud to be a hardware company

Encouraging innovation while ensuring stable growth is a corporate priority, Whitman says during her first public visit to China since becoming CEO of HP last September.
Written by Liang Qin, Contributor on

HP CEO Meg Whitman , speaking at the Global Influencers Summit 2012 conference in Shanghai last week, described her goal for the company as intensifying HP’s internal optimization and renewing concentration on the “HP Way.”

Encouraging innovation while ensuring stable growth is a corporate priority,  Whitman said during her first public visit to China since becoming CEO of HP last September.

Last September 22, HP announced the inauguration of Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, as its CEO and president. Since then, it is the first time that Whitman made a public visit in China as HP CEO.

In 2012, HP will increase itinvestment in research and development, streamline corporate processes, and invest in its employees’ growth, Whitman said. “HP is not a software company," she continued. "Therefore we won’t copy our competitors’ business modes. I’m so proud that ours is a company based on hardware, and HP will keep investing on hardware.”

The following is an interview of Whitman conducted by the Chinese media.

Interviewer: It’s been more than six months since you’ve been HP CEO, and it’s generally believed that HP is now in the reshaping era. What do you think is HP’s primary concern during this period?

Whitman: It’s true. HP is in a reshaping phase right now, during which period stability weighs more than anything else. HP’s chief goal is to ensure stability in its short-medium and medium periods. We need to focus on several points, adhere to our corporate culture, and keep on our product and technology innovation. One important thing is that HP must get into the market and reform itself by great examples. What’s more, senior administrators also need to set themselves as good examples. This is the secret of HP’s success.

Interviewer: Can you describe what kind of company HP currently is with simple words?

Whitman: Today’s HP is the biggest technology supplier in the globe. We offer hardware, software, solutions and services. And our customers include both individuals and corporations. HP is deeply concerned with hardware, and as a bellwether in the hardware industry, we also solve our customers’ problems with software, which has increased HP’s popularity among customers.

Interviewer: You mean that HP is still a hardware company? But it seems that HP was once trying to be a software and service company like IBM.

Whitman: We will concentrate on our strategy. As a hardware-based company, we are proud that we have a lot of operations, each of which stands out in the market with its specialty. We won’t turn HP into a software-only company at the cost of losing other operations.

Interviewer: What value will it bring by amalgamating HP’s PC and Printer Divisions?

Whitman: We found that consumers’ demand for application has been changing, so we integrate these two divisions. The amalgamation is the first step of our reform, which goes along with the change of our business modes. Before, we used to run the PC and Printer Divisions separately, but now they have been merged. HP promises to put its full energy into hardware and to keep on bring out new products. HP has always been in the front rank of the world in the aspects of PCs, printers, cloud computing, security and information management, etc.

Interviewer: What new strategies do you have for the fresh market like China?

Whitman: As the largest market of PC shipment, China cannot be seen as quite a “fresh” market. I’ll call India, Russia and Brazil fresh markets but certainly not China. Of course, HP is also concerned with the African market, as we’ve already set up divisions in several African countries. The status quo of Africa is kind of like the Chinese market a decade ago, in which IT industry is not mature enough. HP will keep on researching into and investing in these markets.

Interviewer: Ever after the open sourcing of webOS, we seem to have heard nothing about HP in the mobile market.

Whitman: We haven’t given up on our panel PC business, as right now we are in a strategic partnership with Microsoft in Windows 8. Now that the competition in mobile Internet market is getting increasingly fierce, we are positive that our panel PC strategy will be successful. Today, people’s habit of consuming data has greatly changed -- the key lies in storing and sharing information rather than creating information. We will bring out more competitive mobile products intended for individuals and small and medium enterprises.

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