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  1. Technology
April 22, 1992


By CBR Staff Writer

Amid all of the hard-sell at Communications ’92 was a fair bit of hard-buying from Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp, the sole exhibitor with nothing to exhibit. The company was present just to attract foreign vendors to ply their wares to Japan, and a handbook was thoughtfully provided detailing how to break into the Japanese market – right down to advice on how to use the Tokyo underground system, and how to get health care in an emergency). NTT was also distributing its own codebook, detailing exactly how companies could find their way through its complex tendering process. Was this just a piece of hype, though? Apparently not, since the company had figures to hand that showed its foreign procurement was up 22% in the fiscal year 1991 and represented 11% of the total number of orders for which foreign suppliers tendered. The estimated figures were given as $138m for that period. As might be expected, however, the North American big boys – such as AT&T Co, IBM Corp and Northern Telecom – accounted for the bulk of major product sales – the only other companies to supply major products are Rank Xerox Ltd – the UK division, which supplied computers), Telindus – the Belgium-based modem supplier), Stockholm-based Ericsson Radio Systems – which worked with NTT on digital mobile telephone systems), and Siemens AG of Germany which collaborated on Asynchronous Transfer Mode systems (shouldn’t Cincinnati Bell Inc be in there somewhere?). The majority of products bought in were in the areas of network core and other information processing equipment – areas dominated by the US and Japan. Taking all categories of product together the picture is slightly better for smaller vendors, however, with less than 50 of the 500 non-Japanese companies NTT did business with listed in Business Week’s Global 1,000 companies, and products sourced from a wider range of countries. The push to buy from abroad stems from the 1981 GATT Code on Government Procurement and the US-Japan arrangements on NTT procurement, requiring action to increase the number of non-Japanese suppliers. As a result, NTT established procurement offices in London, and its presence at Communications 92 was part of an ongoing tour of trade shows.

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