News Column

From computer code to the global market

June 1, 2014

Zhang Zhao

Software companies in Zhongguancun have improved their competence in innovation and proprietary technologies, with many now paying more attention to services rather than just programming.

AsiaInfo Holdings Inc, the world's second-largest company specializing in support systems for telecom companies, started its global expansion five years ago.

Last year it signed a contract with Telenor Group, one of the largest telecoms in the world, to provide software to support mobile telecommunications in eight European countries.

The first phase of the project was launched in Denmark and Hungary, worth more than $100 million.

Jin Yadong, executive vice-president of AsiaInfo, said the contract is a milestone in the Chinese software industry.

He said the company had the highest bid but won the contract because they "share the same vision and concepts about the future" with their partner.

"Future telecommunications operations should be based on a highly open and interconnected society," he said. "They will cater to a digital lifestyle and provide tailor-made services for each consumer with real-time analysis."

Jin said their products prevailed because they feature future orientation and they can generate value to customers in the long term yet are convenient for daily use.

And AsiaInfo will provide not only products, but also services.

"Software is not as simple as a few lines of code," Jin said. "We have to take into consideration all of the customer's business procedures and their work habits, even the local culture."

According to the contract, AsiaInfo will help replace around 300 old systems in the two countries with new software that optimizes all Telenor's business processes. It will also provide integrated solutions for both hardware and software.

Thanks to innovations in integrating many systems, cost will be reduced while profit is maintained.

Innovative ideas are also a key to the success of the anti-virus company Qihoo 360 Technology.

The company became well-known in 2008 when it unveiled the first free anti-virus software in the nation.

By offering free products, the company aims to attract customers and then collaborate with app makers to provide value-added services.

"We believe that free use is the basic spirit of the Internet," said Qu Xiaodong, vice-president of Qihoo 360. "And our free software must have good design and customer experience because otherwise the users will remove it at any time."

Some thought the business model could not last long, but today nearly all the popular anti-virus software is free.

Thanks to the free products, more than 99 percent of computers in China now have genuine anti-virus software, while the figure was less than 20 percent before 2008, said Qu.

Qihoo 360 alone has around 90 percent of the market.

The company is also a pioneer in "cloud virus scanning" technology that automatically compares a webpage with the company's virus database to see if it contains threats.

Focusing on safety, the company plans to expand its business to hardware, such as wireless routers and wearable devices.

It also has initiated cooperation with the government, banks and insurance companies, sharing their blacklists of defrauding websites and phone numbers used in illicit activity.

(China Daily05/30/2014 page7)

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Source: China Daily: Hong Kong Edition

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