Case | HBS Case Collection | July 2004 (Revised December 2016)

Cisco Goes to China: Routing an Emerging Economy

by Geoffrey Jones and David Kiron


Cisco, the corporate leader in the provision of infrastructure for the Internet, entered China in 1994. Companies such as Cisco, which designs products that are largely invisible and outsources their manufacture, face a number of opportunities and challenges in an emerging economy. China was among the fastest growing IT markets in the world, but Cisco faced growing competition from Chinese firms, including Huawei, and there were serious issues arising from software piracy. Cisco also had to manage a delicate relationship with the Chinese government, which was seeking international technology standards that favored Chinese technology firms.

Keywords: Emerging Markets; Market Entry and Exit; Standards; Business and Government Relations; Competition; Information Technology Industry; China;


Jones, Geoffrey, and David Kiron. "Cisco Goes to China: Routing an Emerging Economy." Harvard Business School Case 805-020, July 2004. (Revised December 2016.)