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Actuate turns to China for Linux support

The business-intelligence software maker says its research and development center in China will play a pivotal role in its Linux strategy.

Actuate's new research and development center in China will play a pivotal role in its Linux strategy, according to a senior company executive.

San Francisco-based Actuate sells business intelligence software, designed to help companies analyze their operations by generating reports from data sources such as spreadsheets and databases. The company officially unveiled its first product development center outside the United States in Shanghai last month and has committed to invest around $10 million over the next three years in the new facility.

"A lot of what (the China development center) will be doing is Linux-related," said David Runacres, Actuate's managing director for the Asia-Pacific region. "I view China as a great Linux market because the costs of delivery are low and there are a lot of skilled Linux people here."

To date, the bulk of Actuate's applications run on more mainstream operating systems like Unix and Solaris. But that is set to change.

"By Actuate 8, everything you buy from us will be available on Red Hat or SuSe versions of Linux," he said.

Actuate 8, the latest upgrade to the company's flagship business reporting tool, is scheduled to debut by September. On top of ensuring Linux compatibility and Chinese language support in this new release, Runacres said, the mainland development center will also help incorporate Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based data integration technologies derived from the company's acquisition of U.S.-based Nimble Technology last year.

These enhancements are expected to make it easier for customers to extract and view consolidated reports across multiple databases. In addition, Nimble's technology also helps ensure interoperability with other XML-enabled systems, the company said.

"Most of the changes in version 8 will be the Nimble stuff and the Linux pieces," Runacres said.

Actuate's China development facility currently has 20 engineers, but Runacres said the company is on track toward its goal of hiring 40 more by the midyear.

Winston Chai of CNETAsia reported from Singapore. CNET's Martin LaMonica contributed to this report.