[CEO Interview] Changjiang Business School MBA: Empowering the Industry with Passion
2023/11/07 Visitors:1814 person-times

Connee Zhang, the CEO of CypressTel and an experienced alumna of the MBA program at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, was recently interviewed by the MBA program. In the interview, Connee shared her entrepreneurial experience, her story with the MBA program, and her insights on empowering companies for globalization. Together, they explored the path of leadership and innovation.

Connee is one of the earliest female entrepreneurs in the telecommunications industry in China, dedicating over 30 years to the field. Throughout her entrepreneurial journey, she has maintained her passion and focus on the telecommunications industry. According to Connee, a successful entrepreneur should have dreams and passion. Her success can be attributed to her passion for the telecommunications industry, her belief in long-termism, and her experience studying at Cheung Kong MBA.


During the interview, Connee recalled her connection with Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, which began in 2005. She was inspired by the motto of "cultivating world-class business leaders" and decided to pursue an MBA at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. Connee defined Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business as a magical business school that illuminated her path and ignited her passion for entrepreneurship. She believes that the school motto of "Vision, Morality, and Competence" had the most significant influence and benefits for her.


Connee described her entrepreneurial journey with keywords such as "positive mindset," "advancing in pain," "growth," and "persistence." From the beginning of her entrepreneurship, she constantly pondered on how to build an internationally influential top-tier enterprise in the global competition. She established the Hong Kong headquarters to accelerate her globalization strategy and assist Chinese companies in successfully expanding into the world in the ICT field.


Connee shared in an interview her passion for the telecommunications industry and the story of her company's growth. Since its establishment in 2008, CypressTel has developed from a startup to a global company with business operations in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. The company has established offices and branches in Los Angeles, London, Singapore, and Japan, with its headquarters situated in Hong Kong.


In her interview, Connee explained the strategic significance of choosing Hong Kong as the company's headquarters. Hong Kong's telecommunications market is one of the most open and developed globally, providing opportunities to learn from the best in the industry. Hong Kong's proximity to Shenzhen also provides a natural advantage for globalized development and expansion of the company. Additionally, Hong Kong has excellent industry resources and serves as a hub for connecting and doing business with the best resources available.


Furthermore, Hong Kong has a mature legal system and is considered an international market that adheres to international trade rules. This makes it easier to gain the trust of overseas customers. Hong Kong's geographical location is also advantageous for global connectivity, serving as a gateway to the world. Choosing Hong Kong as the headquarters aligns with the dream of going further for every entrepreneur, and its internationalization, mature business services, and innovation ecosystem make it a strategic choice for companies looking to remain at the forefront of industry development.


CypressTel has leveraged the market information and business networks available in Hong Kong to expand its international market presence and achieve global business growth. Additionally, with the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the company has gained opportunities to establish a presence in the mainland Chinese market and access new avenues for development.


Over the years, CypressTel has focused on cloud and network integration, building a rich portfolio of products and a diverse ecosystem of collaborations. The company has achieved remarkable market share, customer base, and reputation, positioning itself as a leader in the global market. CypressTel is committed to providing customers with comprehensive end-to-end network solutions and support services as a global SD-WAN security networking expert. It has become a recognized international brand, a leading brand in the Asia-Pacific region, and a benchmark brand in the domestic industry.


CypressTel is a company that has made significant advancements in the field of communications by investing in research and development in the ICT sector for over 15 years. According to Connee, the key to CypressTel's success can be attributed to three aspects:


1. Strategic Positioning: Creating a Global Presence

CypressTel recognizes that successful companies need to be global. To achieve this, the company established its headquarters in Hong Kong from the beginning, with the goal of becoming a global enterprise. Connee also foresaw the trend of Chinese companies going global and strategically positioned CypressTel to leverage the best resources available in China and around the world to help Chinese companies succeed in the global market. Since 2013, CypressTel has invested significantly in network deployments in over 100 countries and regions, laying a strong foundation for supporting Chinese enterprise customers in their global expansion.


2. Clear Direction: Seizing the First-Mover Advantage

In the fast-paced world of cloud computing, Connee predicted that SD-WAN would be the strongest technology in the era of cloud-network integration. Therefore, starting in 2017, CypressTel quickly focused on developing SD-WAN services, increasing research and development investment, and exploring new business models. With years of independent research and technological innovation, CypressTel developed a highly performing and cost-effective SD-WAN product that received widespread acclaim from industry users. This product has become a mainstream solution in the SD-WAN field, providing new growth momentum for the company and establishing CypressTel as an industry leader with a significant first-mover advantage.


3. Technological Excellence: Iterative Innovation and Information Security

As networks rapidly evolve, intelligent management is not the only aspect to consider. Network threats and data security have become increasingly prominent issues. While emphasizing network intelligence management, CypressTel also focuses on solving network and data security problems. In 2022, the company collaborated with several listed companies, including Sangfor Technologies Inc. (SZ 300454), in the field of information security. Based on SD-WAN technology, they jointly launched the network security product OneWAN-SASE, addressing global network attacks and data security risks faced by customers.


In the era of cloud-network integration, CypressTel's core competitiveness lies in how it assists enterprise digital transformation and upgrades, creating a "new engine" to accelerate customer growth. In the future, the company will seize new opportunities in cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, and network security in the ICT industry, tackle more technological challenges, and provide customers with ultimate services.

In conclusion, CypressTel has achieved its success by strategically positioning itself as a global company, seizing the first-mover advantage in emerging technologies, and prioritizing technological innovation and information security. The company has gained recognition and acclaim from the industry for its focus on providing comprehensive network solutions.

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