Chinese IT seeks help from India

CIOL Bureau
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NEW DELHI: China's efforts to take advantage of IT were held back by the high cost of operating system and application software. With its accession to the WTO, China has been taking steps to put an end to piracy. Also, with widespread software piracy, organisations are switching to locally developed distributions of Linux, instead of replacing their illicit windows and applications, software with fully licensed copies.

At the Indiasoft 2003, Jonathan Choi, Chairman, Sun Wah Hi-Tech Group, Hong Kong said that the Chinese IT industry needs an immense amount of foreign investment in terms of funds, expertise and infrastructure supply and services.

"In addition to raising the quality of its IT industry products, the Chinese Government also needs to change its investment infrastructure to provide greater funding to the hi-tech sector. At present, funding to the hi-tech sector amounts to one percent of the GDP which will be increased. Also, introduction of preferential policies is imperative if the industry is to reach its full potential", Choi said.

Linux making inroads

Chinese Government has adopted Linux as the e-government platform. China's vast domestic market may well be a factor that turns the balance in favor of Linux not only domestically but also worldwide. Linux has made remarkable progress for a new operating system against an established near monopoly of windows.

Until recently, China has been able to make much impact at the level of desktop, although it is highly regarded and very widely used for server installations and also the preferred choice for website hosting on the Internet.

Choi further stated that while efforts have been made by many workers to simplify matters for the lay user, so far Linux has never achieved the critical mass of users needed to place it in the mainstream. China's enthusiastic embrace could change all this not only making Linux truly user-friendly, but also creating a whole new open source software development industry.

Bringing an Indian perspective in to the fore, S Lakshminarayanan, Additional Secretary, Department of Information Technology, said that there is now a paradigm shift in the nature of Indian software services. From being merely professional services to offshore project to on-site work, the Indian industry is now focussing on development of software.

"However, if we have to move up the value chain, we have to focus our attention on R&D, explore and create niche areas and establish a unique image of excellence and reliability," he added.