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Opportunity opening for mobile UC in China

Interest in mobility and buoyant spending on telecoms services is expected to create opportunities for mobile unified communications providers in China, says Ovum.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

China's small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are expected to continue spending on telecoms services amid a growing interest in mobility applications, which creates "great opportunities" for mobile UC (unified communications) providers, said Ovum.

Claudio Castelli, Ovum senior analyst, said in a report, the country's "strong domestic market" is helping to insulate its economy from the larger, global downturn somewhat, and will help ensure companies continue spending on these services.

Additionally, there is fast growing interest in mobility applications among SMBs in China, he said. Ovum said 61 percent of those employed by Chinese SMBs "have some degree of mobility", but their mobile devices are supplied and supported by employees, not the companies. This practice carries a "high degree of risk", noted Castelli.

According to a survey last year, a large proportion of Asian businesses are not paying attention to mobile security. A poll of 560 companies found that half of them accessed corporate e-mail via mobile devices, but fewer than a third of the enterprises had mobile security policies in place.

The scenario is likely to change, with SMBs expecting to grow spending on mobile services, he said. The analyst pointed to the release of 3G licenses in China, saying it will help promote services and competition, further fueling growth.

Castelli highlighted mobile e-mail having the highest potential for growth. Other promising applications include mobile IM (instant messaging), mobile multimedia, as well as mobile workforce services such as good tracking and sales force automation, he said.

However, Castelli cautioned that vendors may have to wait for actual spend, in the case of companies cutting cost as the country's economic growth slows.

In a recent interview, a Tandberg executive said there has been a "vast shift in corporate mindset in favor of UC" with companies pressing departments to cut costs. And according to analyst firm IDC, there will be substantial enterprise budget channeled toward reducing costs, such as the cost of communication, further helping to boost interest in UC.

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