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Thriving in a world of change

The fast pace of change is driving the technology industry and China is one of the major players. Let me share some surprising insights ahead of our technology conference in Shanghai.

One of the things that I find exciting in my work is technology. Specifically how fast innovation happens in the tech market – it is such a highly dynamic and explosively competitive arena. I‘m sure we all remember how much excitement the introduction of the Apple iPad created, now everybody is talking about Google Glass. The only constant in the world of technology is change. We are all looking for the Next Big Ting.

Take the Phablet for example. I like this marriage of Phone and tablet. These gadgets are stealing the thunder of smartphones and traditional tablets and are expected to account for 18 % of all smartphones sales by the end of 2013. Again: Change is happening, and it’s happening very, very fast.

I believe there is no room for complacency among tech players. If you are not careful, another groundbreaking innovation will capture the public´s imagination, attention and ultimately win market share. If companies want that groundbreaking innovation to carry their branding, it´s essential they keep pace with change.

Brand Value

All that speed and innovation reminds of another business sector. It almost feels like tech can be as fast-paced as the fashion business: innovation, short product cycles, changing consumer behavior. This all means it´s not easy to keep tabs on which tech company is currently ´number one´ in the rankings.

For the longest time, that was of course Apple — but there are also new challengers emerging. When Samsung launched its Galaxy S4 in New York in March, customers were, literally, queuing around the block (“That never used to happen when Samsung unveiled a refrigerator,” noted Bloomberg Businessweek). Google’s stock has risen, too, with the shift to mobile internet, its Android operating system growing in popularity and headline-making Google Glasses. Yet Apple sold a record 47.8 million iPhones and 22.9 million iPads in its 13-week fiscal 2013 first quarter, ended December 29, 2012, and another Apple product cycle is expected soon.

Which means anything could happen.

Technology Conference

With all this uncertainty, I’m sure we all can agree on one major trend: The growth of China as a technology superpower. When I researched this numbers, I was as surprised as you may be. Some estimates think that by the end of 2014 three of the top five mobile handset vendors will be Chinese, companies like Huawei and ZTE. China is the largest consumer market for both PCs and smartphones. Its western regions have become a magnet for foreign investment in the hi-tech sector.

China is also a country with a huge talent-pool: according to the New York Times, China now produces eight million graduates a year from universities and community colleges.

So there is no better place to hold DHL’s 2013 Global Technology Conference which takes place this month (June 18 –20) in Shanghai, attended by representatives from the leading global technology companies.

The event features a line-up of speakers from across the industry, while multiple plenary and breakout sessions include “Trends in Technology Manufacturing”, “Serving Rising Consumer Markets” and “How to Connect Asia Pacific to the Global Supply Chains.” Writer Fredrik Härén will also underline how global companies are readying and re-inventing themselves for the next phase of this fast, complex, competitive and rapidly changing business environment — and what this means for their supply chains.

And the theme of the conference? There are no prizes for guessing that in this volatile climate it’s all about “Keeping Pace with Change”.

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