The company was initially founded in 1998. The world wide web was in its infancy. We built our first client websites for the UK and US markets. Websites were hard-coded page-by-page in HTML. Yahoo! was the most popular search engine.
Web marketing was first becoming recognised as a necessary part of running a website. We delivered our first services in a new field of Search Engine Optimisation for Yahoo, Google, MSN (now Bing), GoTo (merged into Yahoo) and one-time search giant AltaVista (bought by GoTo).
The company was incorporated as a limited company and moved into offices in Lancaster, United Kingdom where our head office remains to this day. Initial trials with Chinese staff commenced in order to support our growth.
An official legal company status was approved in Nanjing, China and our first Chinese staff were taken on.
The first government accreditation received by the company was approved by the UK Government's Department for Education and Skills as an E-Learning Credits supplier, aimed at providing schools and educational establishments with extranets.
Backbone IT Group was the first Western company to offer online digital services in China to Western clients. The China market was changing. Through our China office, we could see increasing internet connectivity, mobility, affluence and consumerism and we looked to add China support services to our portfolio.
To serve our US clients better, our U.S. office was opened. Additionally, the company gained ISO 9001 status, was featured on Microsoft's website as a case study and became a Lancaster University Infolab Associate Member.
We became members of the China-Britain Business Council and also Alipay partners, offering previously-unavailable access to e-commerce facilities in China to Western firms. Our client base had expanded to include EMEA, North American and APAC companies.
Research and Development became further embedded in our activities. With research grants awarded by the UK Government, Backbone IT Group invested R&D in live streaming scenarios, a technology which was gaining traction and new interest at that time.
With international markets showing ongoing low growth as a result of the financial crash, our firm restructured its operations to improve profitability and future growth potential. Backbone IT Group was acquired by Oxcliffe Ltd and, retaining many staff, was restructured as a close limited company.
Our client base had become increasingly made up of internationally-focussed, corporate firms as a result of our China specialism. China digital support services became the core company focus reflecting our clients' requirements.
Backbone IT Group opened office space in the UK capital to better serve UK and international customers.
With China cloud server and service provisioning having advanced to Western standards, we launched a fully managed service to take care of clients' needs. Cloud infrastructure and web management, performance, recovery & risk mitigation for Chinese and global web services became a core service.
The refocusing of our core service portfolio around China digital infrastructure and performance management saw increased company growth, with financial reports posting four consecutive years of 20% year-on-year pre-tax profit growth.
With China's relatively quick Covid lockdown, recovery and swift return to economic growth, clients in the UK and US were still keen to maximise the Chinese opportunity. Backbone IT Group was fortunate to remain relatively unaffected by the global pandemic with no staff furlough necessary.
Bringing Chinese data and team performance into the picture for global-headquartered companies remains a constant client need. Incorporating integration of metrics and reporting brings full visibility to Western management and forms part of our current drive to enhance services in line with customer requirements.
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