Riding on the wave of BAT
Hong Kong’s new role in the global tech market amid the maturity of cloud computing and the rise of GBA

Riding on the wave of BAT
Hong Kong’s new role in the global tech market amid the maturity of cloud computing and the rise of GBA

With more than 20 years of experience in enterprise IT, Keith Poon, Executive Managing Director of ZStack International, has witnessed the ups and down of many technologies. His career path truly reflects Hong Kong’s enterprise technology market—from the rise of virtualization to the mass adoption of cloud and the upcoming new role of the Greater Bay Area (GBA) development.

Started his career as a Product Manager at a Hong Kong-based value-added distributor, Poon has taken his career across multiple enterprise IT technologies, including proprietary software, open source technologies, security and cloud computing. But he has always been consistent with his focus, that is the Greater China market.

“The reason is simple. The population was almost 200 times of Hong Kong, the size and potential of the market was enormous” he said. 


Virtualization as a tipping point
The great expectation also comes with a similar size of challenges. In the late 1990s, the enterprise IT market was driven by hardware. With more than 70% of IT spending allocated to hardware, Poon’s focus in selling software in China was a challenging one.  

Nevertheless, his persistence started to pay off with the enhancement of software capabilities and the rise of virtualization in early 2000.

“The rise of virtualization was really a tipping point of my career and the local IT market,” he said. 

Poon explained virtualization transforms the enterprise IT industry from a hardware-centric market into a software and service oriented one. It also lays the foundation of cloud computing and container technology, empowering today’s digital transformation for many businesses.

Different from hardware, which was limited by manufacturing and shipment schedule, the availability of virtualization software in Asia was almost simultaneous to the Western markets. The faster access to virtualization software has also shortened the adoption cycle of technologies among many Hong Kong and Chinese enterprises. 

“We are no longer three to five years behind in adopting the latest technology,” he said. “Virtualization is really the beginning of a new era in the Greater China tech market.” 


The rise of BAT
The early adoption of virtualization among Hong Kong and Chinese enterprises also sowed the seeds of technology development in the market. The Chinese technology giants like Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent (BAT) all have their roots traced back in the early 2000. 

The rise of BAT has not only demonstrated the R&D capabilities in China, it has also rebranded China from being the world’s factory into the world’s innovation engine. 

“BAT has built a great foundation for all the Chinese tech companies,” said Poon. “They re-branded Chinese technologies and built confidence in the global technology market.”

Riding on the success of BAT, ZStack was born. Headquartered in Shanghai and initially funded by AliCloud, ZStack was founded by an early virtualization engineer. The company has about 400 employees with 70% of them from the R&D team. Providing a unified private cloud platform to manage compute, storage and network resources, ZStack’s technologies have supported more than 1,500 companies across the 30 countries since 2015. 

The company’s product portfolio ranges from virtualization in server, storage and network, to cloud management platform. ZStack also supports container technologies (ZStack Zaku), hyper-converged infrastructure (ZStack Cube) and edge computing (ZStack Mini). 

ZStack pledges for its 4S standards, providing a simple, strong, smart and scalable cloud computing platform. Poon added the company is proud to provide a six-step ZStack Cloud installation process, which takes only 30 minutes to complete for beginners to create 10,000 virtual machines it’ll take only another 23 minutes. 


Ambassador for Chinese tech
This fast growing company has also recently set up its global headquarter in Hong Kong with the establishment of ZStack International to expand its overseas market. 

“Hong Kong has moved from being the gateway for Western tech companies to enter China, to become the ambassador for Chinese tech companies’ global expansion,” said Poon.

As a technology and business hub of the upcoming GBA, Poon said Hong Kong is located at a perfect location to drive its global and regional expansion.

“We are lucky to be located in Hong Kong for our global headquarter,” he said. “This is a great location to expand internationally through the partnerships we built here.”

Poon noted one of the company’s valuable partners is Data World Computer & Communication. The value-added distributor was established in 1983, providing an extensive sales network in Hong Kong and Greater China and enabling ZStack International to reach different industries. He said Data World’s certified technical expertise with recognized 7x24 support services is also the foundation for ZStack International’s future success.

“The rising Chinese technologies with the development of GBA is going to present enormous opportunities for Hong Kong. Local technology professionals can support the entire Chinese market and across the world by being located at the GBA region,” Poon concluded.