It may sound like a paradox, but in China SMBs characterize the market: China is home to more than eight million small to midsize businesses, accounting for around 99 percent of the country’s enterprises. And further growth is likely according to leading analysts. A recent report by IDC predicted an 18.5 percent annual growth rate in the Asia-Pacific SMB market until 2004, making it the fastest growing segment in the IT industry.
At a press conference on September 10, 2003, attended by a host of senior SAP executives, partners, local government officials, and SAP customers, SAP officially launched its SAP Business One Chinese Version software onto the Chinese market. Klaus Zimmer, president of SAP Greater China, presented SAP Business One Chinese Version as SAP’s answer to the challenges facing Chinese SMBs today. “These enterprises desperately required a total solution aligned with their business features and demands, which was affordable, flexible, highly integrated, and could yield higher ROI.” The SAP Business One Chinese Version is designed specifically to meet the needs of growing Chinese enterprises, providing them with greater control over expanding resources and the ability to manage their interaction with customers, suppliers and employees more efficiently. For small companies and branches of large-sized enterprises that require general business functionality, SAP Business One Chinese Version addresses key accounting, reporting, logistics, and sales force automation needs. Jui Shang-Ling, General Manager for SAP China R&D Center and head of the 70-strong team who spent a year tailoring SAP Business One Chinese Version to the Chinese market, explained how the Chinese Version has been built to meet the real demands of Chinese enterprises.
Committed to growth
SAP is no stranger to the Chinese SMB market. In fact, it has been delivering tailor-made solutions to SMBs and vertical industries in collaboration with its partners for several years. The SAP Business One Chinese Version launch saw SAP honored for this contribution to market growth by the China Software Industry Association (CSIA), who announced that it had accepted SAP as a member. This membership is a significant milestone for SAP after over 10 years experience with Chinese enterprises and tangible investments in China. One key investment in China’s development is represented by SAP’s “Seed Plan”, an initiative started in 1996 with the aim of fostering badly needed talent in China’s IT industry. The Seed Plan establishes links between SAP and Chinese universities, building cooperative relationships between the education and business sectors. SAP used the SAP Business One Chinese Version launch as a forum to reaffirm its commitment to the IT industry in China and announced that it will donate SAP Business One Chinese Version to seven Chinese universities participating in its Seed Plan. Klaus Zimmer summed up the thinking behind the scheme. “It is our hope that our students master industry technologies, along with business management and operation skills, in order to further push the application of information technology in Chinese enterprises upon graduation.”
Strong partnerships for added value
The SAP Business One Chinese Version was born of cooperation between SAP and leading technology and industry partners. Technical partners included Intel and Microsoft. At the launch, Ian Yang, Country Manager of Intel China congratulated SAP and recognized the two companies’ cooperation in delivering optimized solutions to enterprise customers since 1994. “By adopting IT solutions that best suit their business, SMBs can significantly enhance productivity and reduce operational costs,” said Yang. Jun Tang, President of Microsoft China, was also optimistic about the high performance and return for Chinese businesses using the jointly developed SAP Business One Chinese Version. “As one of SAP’s most important strategic partners worldwide, Microsoft has a long-term close cooperation with SAP in boosting the development of enterprise application solutions. We believe that with this combination of excellence, the Chinese Version of the solution will provide domestic users with enterprise application products of a high performance/price ratio, enabling them to enjoy the most desirable cost of ownership and ROI.”
In line with SAP’s global partner strategy for SAP Business One, the Chinese Version of the solution will be marketed and sold exclusively by certified channel partners. The first group of Chinese partners charged with selling the software were named at the launch ceremony and presented with ‘SAP Business One Chinese Version Sales and Service Partner Certificates’. Initial partners include Sparkice, Youngsoft, and Tsinghua Ziguang, who will also be channel distributors of the solution in China and serve as a bridge between SAP and end users. In addition to these partners, SAP plans to develop partnerships at two other levels – through solution centers and independent software vendors. With these three partnership programs, SAP aims to establish a complete distribution and service system for the Chinese Version of SAP Business One.