IBM and its Chinese partners will jointly develop Chinese language versions of JavaOS for Business, Lotus Notes/Domino, VisualAge for Java, eSuite, and IBM San Francisco business application components.
American technology providers including IBM are no strangers to the Chinese market, but IBM said it will differentiate itself in these agreements with its commitment to open, nonproprietary standards. IBM's program director for Java marketing, David Gee, explicitly contrasted this approach to that of Microsoft.
Another differentiating factor will be the endorsement of the MII, according to Gee.
"The reason we're doing this is that the Chinese market has enormous potential," Gee said. "The ministry of information is a government senior body of officials responsible for setting direction and standards for information technology in China. It's a fairly weighty group, particularly in such a centralized economy."
"The Ministry of Information Industry recognizes that businesses in China need to advance their use of information technology for the continued economic growth of the nation," said Ms. Zhang Qi, director general of the MII, in a statement. "This agreement with IBM provides a foundation by encouraging local Chinese development based on open standards and will bring important e-business tools to China."
Gee said IBM would be working at first with a "small handful" of about 10 ISV's on individual applications. These will include the Great Wall Computing Company in Beijing.
IBM declined to comment on the financial details of the agreement.
IBM is partnering with Sun Microsystems on the implementation of the JavaOS for Business in Chinese "thin client," or network computing environments.