Chuang: New Era for China

CEO says BEA wants to help foster larger development role.

BEA Systems Inc.s founder, chairman and CEO has pledged to bring the Chinese IT industry on par with the rest of the world. In fact, Alfred Chuang said he expects to see China take a leading role in IT as it has in manufacturing.

And Chuang told audience members, the majority of whom were Chinese, at the BEAWorld conference here last week that BEA has vowed to work with the countrys government and internal IT industry to foster a "new era of software development."

Expressing pride in his heritage, Chuang said: "It is an honor to hold this conference in Beijing, the home of the 2008 Olympics. Only the best happens in Beijing." Chuang added that BEA opened its first office in Beijing in 1997, just two years after the companys founding.

Moreover, referring to one of the Chinese governments five-year plans relating to IT, Chuang said BEA, of San Jose, Calif., wants to help move China "from an economy based on manufacturing to one based on intellectual property. China leads the world in manufacturing, and now it is time for China to become a global IT leader." Indeed, rather than exporting manufactured goods alone, "China will soon be exporting high-value technology," Chuang said.

And perhaps the biggest indication of the importance of China as an emerging IT giant is the sheer size of its potential market, Chuang indicated.

"Just one single mobile company in this country has more subscribers than all of those in the U.S. combined," Chuang said. "Business use of Internet and mobile technology is still in its early days—its only beginning here in China."

Chuang said BEA has an R&D center in Beijing that is focused primarily on development of the companys Tuxedo transaction management server but that is also doing work on the BEA WebLogic and AquaLogic product lines.

"We opened an R&D center here not because its the cheapest place to do business. We did it because we think this is where the innovation will be," Chuang said. BEA is leading the push toward large-scale adoption of SOAs (service-oriented architectures). "SOA software will be the driver of the entire software industry," Chuang said.

BEA works with more than 500 Chinese partner companies to deliver solutions for the market, which Chuang described as not only the fastest-growing market for BEA in the Asia Pacific region but also in the entire world. And BEA has the No. 1 middleware, application server, integration and portal solutions in China, he said.

Meanwhile, Chuang said that two hot areas of opportunity for BEA and for China are the 3G (third generation) mobile network technology and RFID (radio-frequency identification).

"The era of 3G in China is about to begin," Chuang said. "The impact will be enormous."

Similarly, RFID will present new business opportunities, he said. With its expertise in RFID, BEA will help China maintain its position as the worlds leading manufacturing country, Chuang said.

In addition, Chuang cited the Chinese governments five-year plan as creating "enormous opportunity for you and also for us. This will be the greatest opportunity of our lifetime. The purpose of this conference is to show you how we can turn this opportunity into the greatest success of our lifetime. We are the only software company dedicated to making all of your software work together."

Chuang cited the BEA tag line of "Think liquid" and the companys strategy of enabling customers to use their preferred development technology but to enable systems to work together in service-enabled environments.

"Our mission is to stay one step ahead in the evolution of enterprise IT," he said.

BEA has taken a leadership role with its Tuxedo solution for transaction management, Chuang said. And the company is doing the same with its WebLogic platform for service-enabling systems and with its AquaLogic platform for helping to proliferate services, he said. Indeed, in the six months that its AquaLogic products have been available, the sales of the technology have outpaced expectations, Chuang said.

For its part, BEA has put its name behind the Eclipse open-source development platform and made Eclipse the basis for its tooling.

"BEA has been winning the hearts and minds of the development community," Chuang said. "Developers want to build cool stuff, and BEA is here to help you do it."

BEAWorld Beijing is the last of six BEAWorld conferences that have taken place over the last two-and-a-half months. The others have been in Santa Clara, Calif.; London; Paris; Prague, Czech Republic; and Tokyo. The Beijing event is by far the largest, BEA officials said, as Chuang spoke to a standing-room-only crowd for his opening keynote.

"In other cities I found it necessary to defend the role of innovation in IT," Chuang said. "I told audiences BEA does not agree that IT innovation is dead. ... But I dont have to say that here in China. Here, it is evident innovation is alive and growing," Chuang said, to rousing applause from the crowd.