Cisco CEO Chambers: We're in China for the Long Run
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Cisco
"We are in China for the long run -- it is a long-run mentality that you have to take at the present time," he said, during a lunch briefing with journalists at the company's financial analyst conference on Thursday. "Our focus on China will be fully involved and it will take a long-term attitude."
Cisco made headlines last month when it said that the fallout from the National Security Agency's spying controversy had damaged its business in the world's second-largest economy. The networker's China unit endured an 18% decline in its recent fiscal first quarter from the same period a year ago. At the time, Chambers blamed the drop on "challenging political dynamics" in China.
Speaking on Thursday, Chambers explained that there are no quick fixes for Cisco in China. "I just wanted to share with our shareholders that it's not something that's going to change in a quarter or two," he said. "You have to be very patient, you have to work the issues through, and you have to keep the conversations that you have at all levels confidential, because otherwise you won't have anymore."
Investors should not expect any big, bold moves from Cisco, according to the CEO. "It will be a series of quiet moves," he said. "If you watch, the Chinese send messages very subtly -- who sits beside who at a table? Who do you meet when you go to China? Who you don't meet within the area and do you do joint ventures or not? What key market opportunities do you have? Which customers are you doing business with or not within the areas?"
"It's a slowly evolving area -- it's an area that I'm personally very comfortable with," added Chambers. "It's exciting what's going on over there. I have been there for 28 years and so I know the culture, the leaders."
Cisco signed a joint venture deal last year with China Electronics Software Information Service . Based in Shanghai, the joint venture develops technology for public services and industry applications in China.
Cisco, however, will not be knocking on any doors in the corridors of power. "We're not asking help from any government leaders. When we had an issue with Huawei many years ago on the patent issues many people said 'do you want us to help'?" he said, in response to a journalist's question. "The answer is 'No, this is company to company.' We worked it through and we were very direct on the outcome of it. And on this one, we will work it through very carefully in terms of our position in China."