China now Sybase’s largest market for new customers

Thirty-six per cent of the new customers that Sybase Inc. has signed up over the last year for its database software, ASE (Adaptive Server Enterprise), are based in China, according to Marty Beard, the company’s senior vice president of corporate development and marketing.

That makes China Sybase’s largest market for new customers, Beard said.

In total, Sybase signed up 700 new customers for ASE around the world last year. Based on the per centage provided by Beard, that means the company has signed deals with 252 new customers in China over the last 12 months.

Sybase customers in China includes the Ministry of Railways, which operates China’s railroads and uses ASE for its nationwide ticketing system. China Telecommunications Corp. (China Telecom), the country’s largest fixed-line operator, is also a Sybase customer.

Sybase’s business in China may be growing quickly but the country is not close to becoming the largest overall market for Sybase anytime soon. That title still belongs to the U.S., where most of the company’s 30,000 existing customers are based, according to Thomas Volk, Sybase’s senior vice president of international field operations. Volk said the U.S. is unlikely to be unseated as the company’s largest market for at least the next decade.

Sybase doesn’t break out its revenue by individual countries, but it does by region. Asia-Pacific currently accounts for around 15 per cent of Sybase’s overall revenue and China is the company’s largest market in the region, Volk said.

Sybase’s business in China may be relatively small compared to more established markets, but the company said it has done better in China than in other countries. “We have a much higher market share [in China] than in other countries in the world,” said Raymond Yu, president of Sybase’s Chinese subsidiary.

Yu didn’t disclose Sybase’s market share in China, but analysts IDC and Gartner Inc. have pegged its overall share of the market for RDBMS (relational database management systems) at 2 per cent to 3 per cent. By comparison, IBM Corp. and Oracle Corp. both have upwards of a 30 per cent share of the market.

Looking ahead, Sybase has high expectations for its prospects in China.

Yu, an IBM veteran who most recently ran his own company, joined Sybase one month ago to take over Sybase’s recently created Chinese subsidiary. Previously, China was overseen by Sybase’s Asia-Pacific management team but the country was recently made an independent region, reflecting its importance to Sybase, Yu said.

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