Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Group is enjoying strong earnings from data networks in China, and believes growth there could elevate the company's global ranking.
"I don't think it will be long before the Chinese market becomes twice as large as Japan's," said Toshio Iwamoto, president of NTT Data Corp.
Japan is no longer considered an information technology growth market. NTT Data currently earns about 200 billion yen ($2.5 billion) annually from overseas sales. The company predicts China's share will rise from 10 billion yen to 50 billion yen within four years. The financial sector is expected to post most of that growth. Otherwise, NTT Data also hopes to expand sales in North America and Europe.
Currently ranked the world's sixth-largest IT service provider, NTT Data aims to jump into fifth place.
Thirty-six years ago, Iwamoto joined what was then Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corp.
"I will quit if I am not assigned data communications," he said. Now aged 59, in June he became head of NTT's entire data operations.
Iwamoto has been traveling to China regularly since he first was assigned to build a data network for the People's Bank of China. He has built others for Japan's government offices and the Bank of Japan.
He said the customer relationship is paramount.
"Our jobs are not governed by tangible goods," he said. "The only thing we can do is to know our customers better."
The native of Nagano Prefecture said he is driven by a simple motto: Pursuit of truth.
"Nobody can tell me what that 'truth' is," he said. "The word means knowing what I should be doing."
His favorite hobby is gardening. "Tend a plant with love, and beautiful flowers will bloom," Iwamoto said.
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