Tech focus: Nestle China joins forces with Microsoft to digitize business and speed up innovation

By Pearly Neo contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nestle has signed a strategic agreement with Microsoft to collaborate towards the digitalisation of its business in China, with an eye on expanding this into the global market in future. ©Nestle China
Nestle has signed a strategic agreement with Microsoft to collaborate towards the digitalisation of its business in China, with an eye on expanding this into the global market in future. ©Nestle China

Related tags: Nestle, China, digitalisation, Microsoft

Nestle has signed a strategic agreement with Microsoft to collaborate towards the digitalisation of its business in China, with an eye on expanding this into the global market in future.

The aim for Nestle is to pioneer the usage of Microsoft’s platform and technological innovations in tandem with its own FMCG expertise to ramp up its digital capabilities.

“In this fast-changing era, Nestle has committed to transforming good ideas into great quality products at a faster pace to keep up with fast-changing consumer demands,” ​Rashid Qureshi, Chairman and CEO of Nestle Greater China told us.

“We believe Microsoft is a trusted partner that can provide [us with] competitive technology, and look forward to extending the outcomes [we obtain] in China to the rest of the world.”

Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Microsoft Greater China Region Chairman and CEO Alain Crozier revealed via an official statement that the three major services employed in China for digital enterprise transformation are Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365, supported by AI services and its cloud computing platform.

“The digital transformation led by innovative technologies such as cloud computing, big data, AI and IoT is setting off a new round of revolution around the world,” ​he said.

“We are pleased to participate in and contribute to Nestle’s enterprise digitalisation, and the evolution of the FMCG industry. Together with Nestle and [our] ecosystem of partners and developers, we will discover new broad market opportunities that benefit all.”

The collaboration will also include the joint hosting of at least one ‘hackathon’ this year by both companies. Hackathons are events where computer programmers and others involved in software development come together to work intensively on projects.

The event aims to attract partners from Microsoft’s ecosystem to ‘participate in the collection of solutions based on Nestlé's business needs’​. These could include intelligent inventory management systems, data tracking systems and more.

Nestle’s tech focus in China

It is clear that the Greater China region has become a prime focus for Nestle. According to CEO Mark Schneider, “China is one of the fastest-changing food and beverage markets in the world, and a significant growth driver for Nestle.”

“We are strengthening our local R&D capabilities so that our teams can work faster and more efficiently to turn great ideas into the latest must-have products for consumers in China.”

As such, in addition to its collaboration with Microsoft in China, Nestle has also launched a new R&D centre in Beijing and a System Technology hub in Shenzhen.

The R&D centre will focus on accelerating trend-based innovation and NPD in China to meet evolving consumer demand, whereas the technology hub will focus on collaboration with local partners and suppliers in the area of technology used in the various systems.

Furthermore, the System Technology Hub has been purposefully established near beverage machine and system manufacturers in order to facilitate quicker innovation and collaboration.

“The proximity of the R&D team to the Nestlé China Headquarters and of the System Technology Hub to our suppliers and manufacturers will enable a strong collaboration [bring] breakthrough innovations to the market faster,”​ said Nestle CTO Stefan Palzer.

Related topics: Business, Industry growth, China

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