China’s official Hangzhou Daily newspaper reported in January that after nearly a year of preparations and office furnishing, Cisco would officially move in around the spring festival – which fell in mid-February this year. More than 100 executives were moving from Cisco’s Shanghai office “to found Cisco’s China ‘brain’ and hub,” the newspaper said.
But although the company already has a swanky new high-rise emblazoned with “Cisco” in central Hangzhou, the spacious office was empty except for two front desk attendants when a Wall Street Journal reporter visited over the summer.
Cisco says the move is on track. “When we announced it we said it would be a couple of years before we implemented it,” said Cisco Chief Executive Chuck Robbins in a recent interview in San Francisco.
A Cisco spokesman added: “Despite some local media reports, we can reiterate that the official opening of the office lies ahead. We are looking forward to that occasion.”
Cisco’s China headquarters reflects some of the logistical challenges in these China deals that can come months or even years after the initial headlines. As Chinapressures foreign tech companies to do business through local partners and subsidiaries, companies are mulling where to set up new local offices. Smaller cities like Hangzhou are hungry for investment and are offering better terms.