Cisco Systems Inc Chief Executive John Chambers reiterated the company's long-term target of 12 percent to 17 percent annual revenue growth, citing an economic recovery and expansion into new markets.

The top network equipment maker has fallen short of such growth rates in the past year as customers cut back on technology spending, but Chambers, at a financial analyst conference, said conditions had improved in recent quarters.

Most of our customers on a global basis had cut just about everything they could cut over the last 18 months. And the conversation is turning to, 'If I continue to cut I'm into muscle, I'll do that if I have to,' Chambers said on Tuesday.

But they're really saying, 'Where can I grow?' he added.

Chambers also said Cisco would continue to aggressively push into new markets through acquisitions, as well as development of advanced technologies.

Having already established market leadership in its main servers and routers business, Cisco is expanding into data center servers as well as consumer markets to support long-term growth.

The company's strategy is to turn emerging technologies into profitable entities, and to then integrate them with the rest of the business to contribute to overall growth.

Cisco's acquisition of the maker of Flip video camcorders, as well as its development of high-definition videoconferencing systems called TelePresence, are examples of that strategy. Both products help drive Internet traffic, which in turn creates demand for routers and switches.

Chambers also said the company plans to make sure its various technologies, including the Flip camera as well as its videoconferencing, e-mail and messaging services, eventually work together.

Acquisitions have helped Cisco, which turns 25 years old this week, grow into the world's biggest network equipment maker with annual revenue in excess of $35 billion. When John Chambers became chief executive in 1995, it had around $1 billion in revenue.

Chambers said Cisco's leadership had mastered dealmaking, enabling it to pick up its pace of acquisitions since October 1, when it announced plans to buy Norwegian videoconferencing firm Tandberg ASA .

In 45 days we did four acquisitions around the world, three of them outside the U.S., he said.

We didn't even break a sweat, he said, but with a chuckle quickly added that it may have, just a bit --the Tandberg deal initially faced strong opposition from the Norwegian company's shareholders, forcing Cisco to raise its offer price.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Tim Dobbyn, Phil Berlowitz)