8x8 extends Global Reach into China with unique local DID services

As the result of a recently concluded interconnect agreement, with leading domestic carrier China Mobile International, 8x8 is now able to offer its multinational customers a unique local PSTN access option, that obviates the need for traditional gateway-based solutions.

Local presence, quality, and reliability

This new capability provides customers with the ability to choose from an extensive range of local direct inward dial (DID) numbers for over two-dozen city dial locations in China, including the major international business hubs of Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzen.

8x8’s partnership with China Mobile International further extends its already extensive portfolio of carrier relationships that already enable it to offer PSTN replacement services in 38 countries and local DID support in over 120 countries. This is further complemented by outbound calling packages that extend to over 250 international destinations.

Traditionally, companies have relied upon the combination of costly local-hosted gateway devices and VPNs to connect China-based personnel to contacts in other geographies. Although this compromise solution provides international communication, it does not support the local break-out of calls onto China’s public telephone network, is complex and costly to manage, and a potential single point of failure.

Global Reach

8x8’s solution provides support for the best of both worlds. Locally originated calls are routed and terminated within Chinese borders, while international calls are connected via 8x8’s established data center in Hong Kong, which is one of three major data center locations in Asia, alongside New Delhi and Singapore. These three regional points of presence are part of 8x8’s global network of 15 data center locations that deliver ‘Global Reach’ to 8x8’s worldwide customer base. Using 8x8’s patented geo-routing algorithms, coupled with robust and secure network design, Global Reach enables 8x8 to deliver low-latency, high availability connectivity for best-in-class call quality to its customers, regardless of location.

Burgeoning opportunity

Despite the current backdrop of economic uncertainty, China, as a market and as an investor in many of the world’s leading brands, cannot be ignored. Investopedia reports4 that restaurant brands, like KFC, Starbucks, and McDonald's, have been rapidly expanding their market footprint and customer footfall, and General Motors sells in excess of 3m vehicles in China each year. Huawei and Lenovo continue to lead the charge as premier exporters of technology products, yet imports of Western tech, from companies such as Apple, are experiencing sustained success. China is now Apple's third-largest market (just behind the U.S. and Europe) and accounts for 20% of its revenue.

More than 160 China-founded companies, worth around £1 trillion, are listed on the main US exchanges. Grant Thornton’s annual ‘Tou Ying Tracker’ report3, in collaboration with China Daily, asserts that “Chinese-owned companies drive growth and continue to bring distinctive energy to the UK economy” counting 13,000 such organizations of which 795 deliver annual revenues over £5m for a combined total of £91 billion.

The stricture of regulation

To achieve, sustain and nurture this level of ongoing success, the use of effective communications processes and technologies are vital to ensure that East can meet West whenever, wherever, and however contacts in the value-chain need to interact.

The austere and highly regulated Chinese telecommunications environment can be challenging for multinational organizations that demand flexible and agile communications methodologies to align teams, engage value chains, and drive results.

8x8’s agreement with China Mobile International provides a compelling stimulus for multinational businesses to fully integrate China-based subsidiaries, satellite offices, and remote employees into a common dial-plan and licensing scheme.

To meet local regulatory requirements, customers must have a physical local presence in the location where the local China Direct Inward Dial (DID) number is to be allocated. The quality of the service provided is also assured by the requirement that the office data connection must be sourced from one of China’s top-tier ISPs.

Centralized licensing combined with local connectivity

As with all 8x8 customers, user licenses are centralized to one of 8x8 main operating hubs, including the USA for North America, Australia for Asia Pacific, and the UK for EMEA, with packages that include unmetered domestic and international calling. For example, the mid-level 8x8 X Series X3 plan includes a full suite of cloud telephony features, including eFax, analytics, virtual switchboard, and CRM integrations plus unmetered outbound calling for over forty countries, including China. This means that a licensed 8x8 X Series user, located at an office in China, has the same outbound calling capability and unmetered tariff as a colleague based in the UK or the US. 8x8’s unique local interconnect via China Mobile International also means that calls, made to or from a licensed X Series user based in China, remain within the local PSTN, whereas international calls are routed via Hong Kong.

8x8 DIDs for China are priced at a flat-rate monthly line-rental fee, with no in-bound call termination charges. This contrasts with the alternative use of non-geographic toll-free numbers, where shared-cost call pricing applies.

The combination of extensive relationships with local carriers and the reach of its global network enables to 8x8 to provide a local number presence with local DID or toll-free options available in over 120 countries.

Luck is more than a number

8 is exulted as the luckiest number1 in Chinese culture. Its pronunciation in Chinese, as ‘Ba’, is phonetically identical to the word 'Fa', which means to make a fortune and carries plentiful connotations of wealth, prosperity, success, and high social status. No wonder that, across society and throughout business, the number eight carries great favor in the world’s second largest2 economy.

It’s no coincidence that the opening of the Olympic Games from Beijing was at exactly eight minutes past eight on the eighth day of the eighth month in 2008. In China, when people choose mobile numbers, house numbers, car registrations, or important dates, 8 is usually the first choice.

Although 8x8’s owes its global success to its robust and high-quality range of cloud-communications services, rather than chance, it’s doubly-fortuitous name augurs well as it announces the availability of a wide range of local dial-in numbers for China, targeting its multinational customers.

Lucky for some, available for many.

Learn more about 8x8 business phone services here7.

SOURCES:

  1. 'Lucky number 8' - Travel China Guide
  2. 'China market overview' - World Bank
  3. 'Chinese companies in the UK are thriving' - Grant Thornton
  4. 'How many multinationals operate in China' - Investopedia
  5. 'International calling rates' - 8x8
  6. 'International virtual numbers' - 8x8
  7. 'Business phone services' - 8x8 and ‘Hosted PBX features’ – 8x8