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Adobe may ditch China sales

The graphics software giant may decide to leave the Chinese market and other Asian regions due to rampant piracy there, according to the CEO.

Graphics software giant Adobe Systems may decide to leave the Chinese market and other Asian regions due to rampant piracy there, according to CEO Bruce Chizen.

Adobe could stop producing versions of its products in Chinese and other Asian languages if governments in the region don't crack down on software piracy, Chizen said in a weekend article in Hong Kong's South China Morning Post.

On Monday, Adobe confirmed Chizen's comments but downplayed the potential of abandoning Asian markets.

"Adobe remains committed to the Chinese market and to developing Chinese-version products," the company said in a statement Monday. "We believe there is tremendous potential in this market. Unfortunately, the piracy rate in China is high, which makes it difficult for software companies to make a fair return on their investment. We are highly encouraged by the positive steps that the Chinese government is taking to address the piracy issue, and we look forward to continued progress."

Asia is the most active region in the world for software pirates. U.S. trade group Business Software Alliance estimates that more than half of the software in use in Asia is illegally copied, resulting in annual losses of more than $4 billion for the software industry. China's piracy rate is more than 90 percent.

Pirated versions of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system--some selling for as little as $1.50--were circulating in Asia mere days after the software was released in the United States last year.

Chizen said in the article that it can cost up to $750,000 to produce a Chinese-language version of a product, and extensive piracy makes it difficult for Adobe to recoup those costs.