What is South Africa’s story, beyond the headlines, and why should companies look to do business here?
Developing economies have various constraints that may keep investors cautious. However, therein also lies an opportunity for companies to contribute significantly to the social and economic upliftment of South Africa by setting up profitable enterprises with the purpose of generating employment while creating a demand for stronger infrastructure investment and business policies that help to further the national interest and growth agenda. If a company isn’t sure what to do with their corporate social investment funding, they should do what they do best – start a profitable business on the African continent.

What has changed for you as a company since starting out in 1999?

Many of our business principles haven’t changed. However, what the customer is looking for keeps evolving. In the past, customers received an empty FTP shell to host their content.

Now, they want point-and-click usability and integration. They want reduced complexity in setting up a website that enables their business to interact and transact on the Internet. Customers are also looking for flexibility in computing resources, suited to their fluctuating needs. Looking to the future, artificial Intelligence is likely to have a strong impact on web hosting.

What’s the future of Hetzner outside of South Africa?

Our intention is to enter the North American market where we recently opened an office in Vancouver, Canada. Our Canadian team is made up of support consultants that provide an after hours time-shift service for our South African customers. The Canadian team is also made up of a product and software development team, complementing our South African initiatives in the evolution of our product and international release.

How do you maintain being a market leader?

Our long-term focus on customer service has been well received. Many customers don’t realise the partnership element in a web hosting provider. A web project always evolves and you will need support, at some level, throughout. We believe that we are that trusted partner.
We’ve also changed the playing field when it comes to Colocation hosting. It was our intention to simplify the traditionally cumbersome local offering – we offer customers a colocation service in a data centre that compares favourably with traditional Tier 3 data centres, without the associated costs and lengthy contracts that usually come with these services.
Hetzner South Africa’s data centre is considered the hosting venue of choice by many businesses and industry bodies: “It’s refreshing to see data centre operators step outside traditional thinking, and focus instead on service delivery, at market friendly prices. Hetzner South Africa’s pragmatic and no-nonsense approach to their business, make them an absolute pleasure to work with,” says Nishal Goburdhan, Internet Exchange Point Manager for South Africa’s Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA).
In closing, we are intrinsically motivated to contribute to the South African economy and be an enabler for businesses to thrive.