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Global IT firms favor China

GLOBAL information technology firms continue to seek opportunities in the Chinese enterprise software market, which is still the biggest and fastest growing market in the Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, although it's also influenced by the global financial crisis, industry officials said yesterday.

The firms, such as Microsoft and IBM, provide enterprise clients various services and discounts, from cheaper office software, system to save energy costs and cheaper and qualified video conference system.

The enterprise software market in the region is estimated to grow from US$18.2 billion in 2008 to US$30 billion in 2012, representing an annual growth of 13.1 percent, according to Springboard Research, a United States-based research firm.

"Our principle is to provide clients qualified service with costs as low as possible," said Chen Kui, the general manager of Microsoft East China region.

Unlike in the past, Chinese enterprises have become more aware of adopting IT systems to cut costs and improve competitiveness, Chen added.

Unique in China, Microsoft provided enterprise clients a free Office license for every four purchased licenses.

China and Australia are the largest software markets in the region, with China the fastest growing at 17.7 percent, nearly double Australia's rate of 9.1 percent.

"Cloud computing, virtualization, collaboration, and open source software are among the enterprise software markets that will see strong demand throughout 2009," said Michael Barnes, an analyst at Springboard Research.

Web conferences and other collaboration tools will also grow strongly as firms cut travel budgets, according to Barnes.

United Kingdom-based BCS Global, which provides worldwide video communications and collaboration services, said it will expand in China via cooperation with a domestic telecommunications carrier.



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