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Sybase's new key to growth: China

The enterprise software maker has unveiled a slew of alliances and initiatives as part of its partner-centric growth strategy in China.

BEIJING, China--Enterprise software maker Sybase unveiled a slew of alliances and initiatives on Thursday as part of its new partner-centric growth strategy in China.

"China is the only major market in the world with GDP (gross domestic product) growth in this day and age," said Sybase Chairman and CEO John Chen.

"And while the global software market is likely to experience a moderate increase of up to 3 percent next year, China will go against the tide with a whopping 20 percent growth margin," said Chen, who was speaking to reporters at the company's Asia-Pacific user conference here.

To tap the country's mounting market potential, Sybase is banking on partnerships to spur revenue growth and reduce its reliance on direct sales channels, said Danny Fung, Sybase China managing director.

Fung said partners only accounted for about 30 percent of the company's revenue in 1999, but it has grown to 48 percent in the past year.

"Our goal is to increase revenues through partners to 70 percent over the next few years," Fung added.

In line with the strategy realignment, Sybase has inked new collaborations with several Chinese information technology companies.

Digital China, one of the largest systems integrators in the country, will offer Sybase's portal and enterprise application integration products. The companies hope to embark on joint sales and marketing efforts in the coming months.

In addition, Sybase has forged partnerships with Xiamen Index Information Technology, a mobile software developer, and Sony Ericsson China.

On the open-source front, Sybase will engage in development efforts with Red Flag China, a provider of localized Linux systems. "Linux will be an opportunity for Sybase to grab more market share," Chen said.

As a further boon to Chinese partners, the software maker will now provide information resources in the local language as an extension of the Sybase Development Network, a free online resource center for application developers and systems administrators.

China has been identified as one of Sybase's fastest-growing markets worldwide. The company experienced 54 percent growth in the mainland during the last financial year.

The company currently employs about 200 employees in China across its five operations in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Nanjing. Beijing is also home to one of two Sybase solution centers in the region; the other is in Hong Kong.

CNETAsia's Winston Chai reported from Beijing, China.