Neil Gallagher | China Telecom Europe | TechWeek18
Will: I’m now happy to be joined by a very special guest of ours Neil Gallagher of China Telecoms how are you doing today?
Neil: I’m very well Will, yourself?
Will: Yeah, not too bad actually I’m doing okay. It’s day 2.
Neil: Yes, just a few more interviews to go I’m guessing?
Will: A few more. But they’ve all been fantastic.
Neil: And the voice is holding up okay?
Will: Yeah, just about I need a bit of water when I have breaks and stuff like that but yeah. So, you are the sales director for China Telecom?
Neil: Yes, in Europe
Will: In Europe. Being here in Frankfurt. Do you specialize mainly within Germany with China Telecom Deutschland?
Neil: So, let me give you a bit of history about China Telecom Europe. We’ve been in Europe since about 2006. In Deutschland, Germany since 2010. We have offices in Frankfurt, in Paris, in London, and then we outside of those cities and those countries we have representatives in all the other European countries as well. So as China Telecom has been in Europe for some time and we gradually built up our business in those countries and in those cities. In the UK, which is where our headquarters are, we have roughly about a hundred people, in Frankfurt in Germany around about 40 and in Paris around about 20. So, a fairly decent sized footprint of people.
Will: It’s always interesting though to talk about that because China Telecom as you said has been around since 2006. Normally what we talked about with some companies that we’ve had on the show so far on Disruptive is that we talked to European companies or American companies which are trying to go out further into say, the Asian or even the African Market. You on the other hand obviously, it’s the other way around with China Telecom. So, what sort of things are you looking to explore? Is there a certain particular area within telecoms that you’re focusing on? Voice over IP or what?
Neil: So, first of all, there’s, if you like, two parts of the business there’s the element that looks after Chinese organizations that are coming into Europe and need ICT facilities, need connectivity from China into Europe and of course, we’re a very well-known brand and name in China as a consequence we tend to be one of the first organizations they approach when they need that sort of technology because we are if you like we are the BT. What BT is to the UK we are to China if that makes sense.
Will: So, everybody knows you?
Neil: Everybody knows us in China, however, brand awareness of our products, our services, our solutions in Europe is pretty low and what we are specifically here to do and my team. We focus on speaking to European corporates that either have a presence in China that they’re looking to expand or looking to change or have issues, pain in terms of their connectivity solutions not performing as well as I would like to. Speaking of those sorts of organizations about discussing the options that we can provide as China Telecom or companies for the first time looking to establish a presence in China that need an underlying infrastructure to support their business. That’s what we do. That infrastructure could be anything from caving infrastructure in the new building to telephone system, IP telephone system, service, hardware, laptops, etc, and then connectivity from China back to Europe.
Will: That’s quite some distance there. So, would you say that China Telecoms, within Europe, can specialize in anything from SMEs all the way up to large scalable massive businesses then really?
Neil: Indeed. We cater for all and it’s interesting actually since I’ve been working at China Telecom. The range of businesses that we deal with and the size of businesses that we deal with. We deal with the huge household names, the large multinational corporates and as you say these medium to small enterprises that are not very well known that are gradually establishing a presence in China but need support, need good connectivity solutions and need some ICT locally in China to support their activity.
Will: So Neil what actually brings you to TechWeek 18 then? I mean other than to check out some of the competitors and obviously get some of these freebies which I love the fact that you’ve brought some pandas on air as well. So, I’m a real big fan of them.
Neil: So well apart from the opportunity to be interviewed by you Will, it really is a case of raising our profile making sure that potential procurement buyers of technology in Germany, in the Frankfurt area are aware of our presence and aware that they had the option to source locally solutions into China for their companies and Germany is a big market for us. Germany is the biggest exporter to China in Europe as a consequence of that they have, you know, many companies, German companies have a presence in China, manufacturers, logistics companies, retailers, etc, etc. And they’re all looking for support in terms of connectivity and that’s what we’re here to do. So, for us, this is potentially a location for us to get our name known raise awareness of our brand, raise awareness of what we can do and then hopefully from the event get some opportunities to work with German businesses and help them grow their business in China.
Will: And is there any sort of regularities that European businesses should be aware of in China?
Neil: There are a number of regularities. Unfortunately, we don’t have time enough to go through the detail, but that’s very important, that’s a great question, Will. My advice is always if you’re unsure about the regularity then by all means come and talk to us. We are very much aware of the rules and laws have been imposed on foreign companies that are active in China when it comes to providing connectivity into China. We can help guide you. We can provide solutions that can help you stay within those regulatory laws. We can’t give you legal advice, but we can certainly put you in touch with people that can give you legal advice.
Will: That’s really good. How did the folks at home, if they want to get in touch with yourself, go through that? Are you on LinkedIn at all?
Neil: I am on LinkedIn I have more followers on LinkedIn I do on Facebook. That’s a sign of my popularity obviously. Yes, so Neil Gallaher ChinaTelecom.com, you should be able to find me quite easily on LinkedIn and I’d be happy to assist businesses that are looking to grow their activities in China and give them help and advice come and speak to me.
Will: Well, Neil, I mean that’s very interesting. So, I appreciate you coming on the show with us…
Neil: Thank you for the opportunity.
Will: …And obviously bringing this little friendly feller to.
Neil: Would you like one?
Will: I would love to have one.
Neil: There you go on behalf of China Telecom it’s a gift from us to you, Will.
Will: Very kind of you. I mean, I’ve got a gift for you. It might be an awkward but quirky question as well. So, one of the things that we normally ask to round things off on the show is if you had to take one thing with you to a desert island, what would it be Neil?
Neil: My wife.
Will: Ah, great answer. No, it’s very touching. Thanks for coming on, really good insight into China Telecom.
Neil: And I’ve was enjoyed it, Will. Thanks very much for the opportunity have a great day. Thank you.