Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft have separately reached agreements with the Chinese government to offer equipment and support to help cultivate the country's software industry.
HP this week signed an agreement with the Ministry of Information Industry of China to set up a Linux laboratory, as part of the country's Public Service Platform Initiative. The joint laboratory will focus on open-source software development, testing and certification to support small and medium-size Chinese businesses.
Over the next three years, HP will deliver US$23.8 million (200 million yuan) worth of software and hardware, including high-end servers and networking connections, to build the Linux laboratory.
The ministry also reached an agreement with Microsoft to establish Windows .Net-based technology labs as part of the National Software and Integrated Circuits Public Service Platform. Microsoft will work with both Chinese and international information technology companies to build the labs and serve a large number of small and medium-size Chinese software companies and computer users in China.
Joint ventures and alliances are part of the landscape of doing business in China. Last September, HP and Red Flag Linux of Beijing announced a development and marketing alliance. As part of that deal, HP supports the Red Flag Server 4 series operating system on the HP Integrity and ProLiant server lines. Red Flag also is working with HP on product quality control, market sales, applications research, management training and applications support services.
Microsoft has been aggressively courting Chinese government agencies and companies for the past four years. In the 1990s, the company had to deal with a spate of bad publicity involving tell-all Juliet Wu, Microsoft China's former general manager. Since then, Microsoft has invested in Chinese ventures such as Censoft, and it has contributed to local educational projects.
Like other companies, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and other high-ranking executives from the software giant meet regularly with Chinese officials.