Linux sales in China showed a sharp increase in 2004 and the market is expected to continue growing, according to research from IDC.
The report, China Linux 2005-2009 Forecast and Analysis, said revenues for Linux licences and maintenance reached $9.3m in 2004, an increase of 20 percent over 2003. 1.835 million units of the open source operating system were shipped in 2004, an increase of 3.6 percent since 2003.
IDC predicts that the Linux market in China will experience "rapid growth" in the next five years, especially in the finance and telecom industries.
The major Linux players in China over the next year will be local vendors Red Flag, Turbolinux and China Standard Software, as well as US-based vendors Red Hat and Novell, according to IDC.
Red Flag is currently involved in a pan-Asian project to develop a standard Asian Linux distribution, which is scheduled for release in July.
This standard distribution may make it more difficult for non-Chinese Linux vendors, such as Red Hat and Novell, to do business with government ministries in China as government ministries are restricted to buying software which has been produced in China.