Recession-proof Australia attracts BT investment

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Recession-proof Australia attracts BT investment

UK telco to make 300 APAC hires.

Australia's economic stability during the global financial downturn has put it on the radar of UK telco and IT services giant, BT.

Due to difficult conditions in its traditional markets, BT was now focusing firmly on Asia-Pacific  (APAC) for growth, according to its managing director for the region, Kevin Taylor.

Taylor, a resident of Hong Kong for sixteen years, said that BT was seeing "fantastic growth" in many Asian countries.

APAC deals had grown from being in the hundreds of thousands of pounds sterling, to five to fifteen million dollar agreements, said Taylor.

US, UK and European markets were a different story, Taylor said: "Slow growth is probably the best one can describe it."

Taylor's sentiments were echoed by Todd Handcock, vice president of BT's business operations in the Asia-Pacific.

Handcock said Asia would continue to be the most robust economic region in the world and highlighted Australia, Korea, Indonesia, India, and China as having escaped the global recession and come out even stronger.

BT was looking to spend up in the Asia-Pacific, and Australia would be very much part of the investment for the region, Taylor promised.

"It's very important for us to invest in Australia," said Taylor, revealing plans to hire some 300 people as part of the Asia-Pacific growth drive, some of whom would come from Australia.

Taylor would not disclose hiring details as staffing numbers were "very customer-dependent".

BT's customers in Australia were mainly large financial sector and manufacturing companies, he said.

BT operated a data centre and global services centre in Sydney as well as offices in Perth and Melbourne, and offered MPLS and Ethernet services to Australian customers.

Taylor also spoke of the Australian NBN as a business driver for BT, as it would attract the multinational companies that the UK company sought to partner with.

He noted the huge amount of discussion around it, which was "nearly as popular as the new prime minister discussion".

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