Sun, Frontline form joint venture in Vietnam

update In the first such initiative under a global scheme to tap into emerging markets, Sun Microsystems will partner the Singapore-based IT services firm to create Sun Vietnam.

update SINGAPORE--Sun Microsystems and Frontline Technologies have announced the establishment of a joint venture in Vietnam.

The entity--Sun Vietnam--is the first joint venture to be formed under a new global initiative to drive growth for Sun in emerging markets, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

The Sun Equity Partner (SEP) program, which seeks to partner established regional companies, "represents a new route to market for Sun to fortify its presence in key markets around the world" as well as expand reach in emerging markets that "adopt and adapt new technology at a rapid pace", said Don Grantham, Sun's executive vice-president for global sales and services.

Sun looking to hire in Asia
Sun Microsystems remains optimistic about growth in the region, the company's chief of operations for Asia-Pacific Lionel Lim said at a media and analyst event Tuesday in Singapore.
The company is expecting to increase 300 employees to its regional headcount by March, of which 60 will be designated for Sun Vietnam.
Based on Sun's second-quarter results announced last month, the Asia-Pacific region contributes about 17 percent of Sun's overall revenues. Year-on-year, India grew 25 percent, while China and Korea each registered growth of 15 percent.

According to Lionel Lim, Sun's chief of operations in the Asia-Pacific region and president for Asia South, sales offices are expected to open in Hanoi, the country's capital, and Ho Chi Minh later this year. The company, he added, will be looking externally for a chief executive to head Sun Vietnam.

While Sun Vietnam is the first fruit of the SEP program, such partnerships were piloted in Indonesia and the Philippines--also with Frontline Technologies--in 2000, Lim said in an interview with ZDNet Asia.

Headquartered in Singapore, Frontline Technologies is an IT services company, with over 5,500 employees in nine Asian economies.

Sun, noted Lim, intends to port the business model to countries including China and Malaysia particularly in cities that do not have any Sun offices. Outside of the Asia-Pacific region, joint ventures are likely to be established in Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Over the next 12 months, there will be five to 10 SEP set-ups in "major economic zones", he added.

In addition, Sun expects to roll out the Startup Essentials program in "a few other cities" including those in Vietnam, where the population of over 80 million people is "starting to climb the technology ladder" and becoming more Internet-savvy, said Lim.