Hisense, a major manufacturer of home appliances in China, is placing its money on the fact that you will, and so it has just announced a partnership with Microsoft China to make that a reality.
Hisense, which produces televisions, audio equipment, kitchen and laundry appliances, air conditioners, and even smartphones, has found success in markets outside of China by offering competitive prices and heavily advertising international sporting events.
Outside of China, it has been more difficult to find evidence of the company’s other line of business, which deals with commercial displays.
In contrast, a statement released by Microsoft China on Monday indicates the company plans to increase its commercial display business’s global presence.
Hisense has made public the fact that the Android-powered WR series of interactive touch screens (available in 65-, 75-, and 86-inch sizes) will include Microsoft’s Teams collaboration ware service.
Microsoft’s cloud-based APIs, Azure Communication Services (ACS) allow developers to integrate services like voice and video calling, chat, SMS/text messaging, and email into their software.
This opens the door for the WR series of devices to be used in self-service kiosks and other similar settings to run specialised collaboration software.
According to Microsoft’s release, this is the company’s first Teams-related partnership on Android in China, and both parties envision their joint efforts as contributing to the global growth of Teams and/or ACS on Android.
Ray Guo, the overseas director of Hisense Commercial Display, is quoted in a machine-translated version of Microsoft’s statement as saying the partnership will “enable Hisense China continually improve its influence, brand power, and competitiveness on the worldwide market and on the world stage.”
According to Ma Yue, vice president of Microsoft’s Greater China and general manager of its Solutions Division, the partnership would “offer more high-quality Chinese goods and technologies for the worldwide commercial display market.”
In sum, Microsoft’s Teams will assist Hisense’s commercial displays division break into new markets, while simultaneously elevating Android’s standing within Microsoft’s own ecosystem.
It’s not out of the ordinary for Microsoft under Satya Nadella to show less animosity toward competing OSes than it did under its prior leadership. However, integrating Teams into Chinese goods aimed at the corporate market (and perhaps including sensitive commercial talks) is a harder sell in the West because of mistrust of Chinese tech businesses.