Open Source Cloud Authors: Stackify Blog, Vaibhaw Pandey, Automic Blog, John Walsh, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud

Open Source Cloud: Article

Selling Software in China

Better Than You Think

Technology companies have been taking a beating lately because of their efforts in China. Google and Yahoo are torn between the evil of government censorship and the prospect of doing business with the world's fastest-growing economy. Microsoft, Adobe, and content providers like the American movie studios face serious problems with piracy. A recent report by the China-Britain Business Council stated that only one in four people in China has purchased software legally.

Imagine my surprise then when I took over a San Jose-based enterprise software company with virtually no sales to learn that our main sales effort was in China. It's a big world, I thought, and surely we could find a safer, less controversial market. My skepticism didn't prevent me from investigating our possibilities there, however, and I'm glad it didn't. I have been pleasantly surprised by the receptive business climate, the ability of clients and other contacts to separate government ideology from business issues, and, most importantly, the size and receptivity of the market.

With an initial software licensing deal under our belts, and the prospect of more to come, I thought I could provide a few insights for others who might find themselves in my shoes.

Business, Not Politics
First of all, business people have to be able to separate political/social views from business issues. The Chinese business people I've dealt with certainly do. This doesn't mean leaving your conscience at the border, but it does mean realizing that not everybody looks at the world the same way we do. Silicon Valley is a leading source of technological innovation, and if we're going to export that technology to the world at large we must learn how to operate in different environments.

The government controls almost all aspects of Chinese society; we revel in relative freedom from government interference. Good for us, not so good for them. But my advice is simple: deal with it. I tip my hat to the U.S. tech leaders who have been grilled by Congress and often vilified in the U.S. press for "selling out" in China. To me, they are pioneers in this brave new world of capitalism co-existing with communism, and I appreciate their willingness to take their lumps in the cause of market expansion.

Intellectual Property Safety
My company's product is software, that most fragile of business products. We pour all our ingenuity and hopes for the future into bits and bytes encased in a disk or downloaded from the Internet. The very act of licensing someone else to use that software carries the implicit hope that they will respect the intellectual capital it represents and use it ethically. Is it reasonable to hope that Chinese business people will live up to their side of that bargain?

My experience, based our initial sales success in the Chinese oil and gas industry, tells me the answer is yes. China is furiously trying to develop energy supplies for its vast and growing population, and realizes it needs help to do so. It doesn't make sense that our customer, a giant oil company whose shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, would cheat on someone who is helping it overcome obstacles. Is this a leap of faith? Maybe, but it's one made with the realization of the tremendous opportunities in enterprise software that exist in China.

We have made a further leap in entering into an outsourcing contract with ChinaSoft Resource Co., a branch of the China Software and Technology Service Corporation (CS&S). CS&S is an example of the efforts of the Chinese government to restructure its state-owned enterprises and bring more transparency to their operations. Through this alliance we eventually hope to outsource parts of our Quality Assurance and final test process, plus other functions. Giving us confidence is the fact that among other U.S. companies using ChinaSoft are Microsoft and IBM.

Don't Go It Alone
Although many things about doing business in China surprised us, one truism remained unchanged: you need local partners. We proudly display in our reception room a plaque certifying us as members of the Zhongguancun Software Association (ZSoft), and I'm glad to be a member of its advisory committee for American software companies. This plaque is the global economy's version of a Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club membership citation

ZSoft is an interesting example of China's efforts to catch up with the world - particularly India - in software outsourcing. Named after the Zhongguancun region of Beijing, which is widely regarded as China's Silicon Valley, it functions as U.S. trade associations do to promote China's software industry. It recently hosted an outsourcing summit on the theme "Software Changing China" that was attended by more than 300 representatives of governments, associations, companies, and institutes.

Joining ZSoft was in my company's best interests, and also served China's goal of improving its software capabilities. China graduates two million engineers a year, but its largest software outsourcing firm employs fewer than 7,000 people. Clearly there's a gap between where they are at present and where they want to be. They see contact with U.S. software companies as an opportunity to learn what skillsets they need to develop and the direction that technology is headed. As a young company trying to get a foothold in the Chinese enterprise software market, we clearly need the kind of contacts that ZSoft offers. And if they can learn a thing or two from us, that's fine, too.

Be Opportunistic, Be Smart
My overall assessment of the Chinese opportunity for U.S. enterprise software companies is optimistic. For companies in the storage and security fields, particularly, China presents an enormous opportunity. The commoditization of high-end serving technology, which bedevils companies like Sun and SGI, has opened up a large market for companies that can offer solutions for the new-era enterprise data center. China's preference for Linux-based server architectures is a real advantage for those who can deal in the Open Source environment.

It's not a perfect world in China. Its transformation from a planned economy to a market-driven economy proceeds in fits and starts. As often as you see promising developments you run into incomprehensible regulations. Piracy and lack of protection for intellectual property remain serious problems. Finding local partners with a commitment to outflanking the bureaucracy and guaranteeing IP integrity is an absolute necessity. But, in a brave new world, only the brave will thrive.

More Stories By Bud Michael

Bud Michael is CEO of San Jose, CA high-availability software company Availigent (www.availigent.com).

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.