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Trend Micro to boost presence in Asia broadband

Trend Micro Inc is actively in talks with broadband service providers in Asia Pacific to install its GateLock device for securing end users' broadband connections.

SINGAPORE--Trend Micro Inc is actively in talks with broadband service providers in Asia Pacific to install its GateLock device for securing end users' broadband connections.

Among potential partners are Singapore Telecommunications, StarHub, Pacific Internet, Singapore Cable Vision, Maxis Communications and Pacific Century CyberWorks, said Trend chairman and CEO Steve Chang in an interview.

Headquartered in Japan, Trend is best known for its network anti-virus and Internet security products. It claimed that its latest offering, GateLock, is an easy-to-use, plug-and-play device specially designed to provide broadband users enterprise-level protection against hackers and viruses. The device will begin worldwide shipment come July 1.

Last month, the company struck its first deal with Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom to provide GateLock to the latter's 138,000 Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) subscribers.

As part of the deal, Trend absorbs the cost of the device, but shares with Chunghwa a monthly maintenance fee of US$2 to US$5 incurred on the latter's subscribers.

Chang hopes to form similar tie-ups across the globe as it is "the fastest way to get market share". He expects to announce more partnerships in the third quarter, and ship 100,000 units of GateLock to Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) by year end.

To date, about 85 percent of Trend's revenue comes from the corporate market with the remaining from consumers, Chang noted. With the introduction of GateLock, he expects the consumer segment to make up 40 percent of total sales in three years, but he would not project revenues.

Asked why Trend was going after the consumer market, Chang explained: "The consumer market is big...look at SCV's subscribers in Singapore, for instance. (Moreover), I am not selling a hardware. I am providing Internet security as a service, which provides recurring revenues."

Market research firm IDC has projected that the number of broadband users in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) will rise to 10.8 million by year end, from 4.3 million last year. By 2005, the figure is expected to rise to 41.3 million.

Chang dismissed declining sales from the corporate sector as one of the reasons for focusing on the consumer market. "In fact, sales (from businesses) are still growing," he said.

For the first quarter ended March 2001, net sales grew 56 percent to 6.6 billion yen (US$55.7 million) from the same quarter a year ago. Ordinary income grew 48 percent to 2.3 billion yen (US$18.9 million) for the quarter. Japan was the largest market, contributing almost 40 percent of its total sales, followed by the US and Europe.

Yesterday, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) revealed that Asia Pacific (including Japan) accounted for the highest revenue losses due to software piracy among corporate users last year. Specifically, losses in the region hit over US$4 billion for the first time, contributing about 35 percent to a worldwide figure of US$11.8 billion.

Chang could not reveal Trend's losses due to the use of illegal software in the corporate sector, but he noted that GateLock will help the company combat piracy in the consumer market as "it is difficult to fake a hardware".