SAP opens Asia Pacific support center in China

SAP, the world's largest supplier of business application software, has opened a new center in China to provide local support to customers in the Asia Pacific region.

The support center in Dalian, a large industrial center in northeastern China, will deliver services to more than 4,200 customers in China, Japan and Korea, SAP said Wednesday.

Initially, the center will be staffed with 130 people whose native languages include Chinese, Japanese, Korean and English. The support team, consisting of existing SAP employees and new hires, will provide services such as online monitoring and remote maintenance.

Built at a cost of US$12.3 million, the new support center underscores SAP's commitment to China, the company said. SAP, based in Walldorf, Germany, has been operating in China for 11 years and boasts more than 2,500 software installations there. Its Chinese headquarters is in Beijing.

Last year, SAP launched a research and development center, SAP Labs China, in Shanghai. The lab is responsible for software development and product localization. It joins six other regional labs located in Bulgaria, France, India, Israel, Japan and Palo Alto, California.

With the launch of the new service and support center, SAP's headcount in China now stands at 490.

Dalian won the nod for the new center because of its modern infrastructure, competitive cost structure and international environment, making it easier to recruit Japanese and Korean IT professionals, SAP said.

Dalian is also home to several higher education institutions and the Dalian Software Park, created with the help of government funds to establish the city as an IT hub. More than 350 software development companies have launched operations in the city, including Dell, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Nokia.

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