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PeopleSoft widens its reach in Asia

The software maker is set to open its Beijing office and offer a Chinese version of PeopleSoft 8. Other investments are earmarked for India and Malaysia.

Enterprise software maker PeopleSoft will spend at least $1 million to establish its presence in China.

The Beijing office, which will open next week, has about 15 research and development engineers. PeopleSoft plans to double the staff by adding salespeople and consultants, said Ray Kloss, the company's Asia-Pacific director for industry and product marketing.

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based company offers a suite of Web-based analytical applications designed to help companies manage customer relationships, supply chains, human resources and finances. The entire suite, known as PeopleSoft 8, will be available in simplified Chinese by the end of the month, Kloss said.

PeopleSoft has already started dabbling in the Chinese market. Last year, the country's third-largest utility provider, Shandong Electric Power Group, purchased the English version of PeopleSoft 8 Financials and Enterprise Performance Management, Kloss said.

He told reporters that the company intends to focus on the utilities and financial services industries in China.

Other investments have been earmarked for India and Malaysia, said Angus McDougall, the company's new general manager for South Asia. He replaces Robert Squires, who has assumed another position within the company.

With new Indian offices in Mumbai and Delhi in the works, PeopleSoft will also be quadrupling its sales and consultancy work force in that country to 24 people this year, McDougall said. The company's sole Indian office, in Bangalore, employs 50 workers, including 44 research and development engineers, McDougall added.

Sales and consulting personnel will also be added to PeopleSoft's Malaysian office, which has 12 employees.

McDougall said the company's expansion plan was in line with its revenue growth projection for South Asia. "We hope to increase sales by 350 percent from 2002 to 2005," he said.

Last year, sales from South Asia rose 48 percent year over year, on record revenue of $2.1 billion worldwide. The company does not provide details by region.

Customers in the Asia-Pacific region include Citibank, General Motors, Ford, Hewlett-Packard, Cathay Pacific Airways, Australian retail chain Coles Myer, Singapore's DBS Bank, Bank of China and the Singapore Ministry of Finance.

Earlier this week, PeopleSoft warned that first-quarter license revenue could be in the range of $130 million to $135 million, down from an earlier expectation of about $160 million. The company will formally announce results for the quarter on April 25.

Irene Tham reported from Singapore.