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Indian Market Should Grow As Fast As China Market In The Next 3 Years: Michael Zhao, President & CEO, Array Networks

BW Businessworld spoke to Michael Zhao, President & CEO, Array Networks during his recent visit to India. In this brief interview, he shares his plans for India for the next couple of years.

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How has 2018 been for you from the global perspective and in India?

For overall 2018 I'm quite happy with our India business which grew really fast. We saw bookings grow almost 40 percent year on year.

Globally we are doing okay. We are at about 70 percent growth.

Which are the primary geographies that are growing for you? Is there a market that's growing significantly higher?  

We have the China market which is still growing, the majority of the revenue yet comes from China.

Who’s the primary buyer in China? Is there a particular industry vertical that is giving you the growth in the Chinese market? 

Our growth engine in China is primarily driven by Service providers and Banks.

In India, which is the main vertical for you? 

The government sector definitely and Banking & Financial Services.

What are your plans for 2019?

This year. .we want to grow in India faster. We are putting more resources on the ground in sales and marketing. We are also recruiting more developers in Bangalore for our development centre.

We will be releasing new products into the market that were conceived in India for the domestic market. Until recently, most of the products were developed in Silicon Valley and we would subsequently bring them to the Indian market.

Is your recent 20 million dollar investment for the R&D centre? Or will it work as a global backend? Or Is this investment for both – the global back-end as well as sales and marketing for the India market?

For me, the back-end and front-end are the same thing because we want to build a strong Array India.

Most of the money will be on the back end, but we are adding more resources in marketing too for India.

Will the centre in India will be working on products only for India or also globally? 

Globally definitely to start with. We want to make it a global Development Centre. The people we are hiring are top-notch developers doing hard-core R&D and product development.

How many people are you going to be recruiting at the centre right now?

We have about 50 employees. My target is to grow it to 75 by the end of the year. Hopefully, we can grow more but it's certainly hard to find talented people.

Who's your competition for India right now?

You know in the hyper-converged networking infrastructure market, we don't really have a competition. However, customers can deploy VMware solutions.

The issue with VMware solutions is that they are not designed and developed for networking and security. They are more for general computing and storage.

What percentage of your current revenue comes from India?

The Indian market is very important to me. In 2018, India contributed about 20 percent in our business. So it's significant.

Where do you see that in the next three years?

I want you to know that China is growing but I think it's approaching a plateau. The China market will continue to grow but the growth rate will slow down.

My goal for India is to take it to a similar level of China in about three years. Above 55 percent and the rest comes from North America.

Could you speak of a project or two that you have done in India?

I will give you an example of NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India). We've been working with them for the past 10 years facilitating the online payment processing, and we offer the best SSL acceleration that will enable them to make sure all the sensitive information being transferred between client and server is secure. At the same time, we help processing the transaction. So e-commerce is becoming a reality.

And on the government side, could you speak of a project in India that makes you proud? 

We have quite a few Smart Cities project with the Indian government which we are proud of.

You are a listed company, right? Your stock price is hovering around $13. That’s not a very attractive price for a technology player. Your comments, please. 

I think we definitely need to work harder to get the financial market to realize the value of this company. I think overall you have to perform better for the financial market to give you a better stock price.  

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