US-based software giant Borland, which officially opened its new Asia-Pacific headquarters in Sydney yesterday, is making the most of the local talent pool - for now.
CEO and president Dale Fuller, in Sydney for the occasion, says that while Australia has the people skills that are hard to replicate anywhere else in the region, it's hardly a haven for foreign companies.
Traditionally managed out of the US, global cross-platform development, deployment and management solutions provider Borland is leveraging the entrepreneurial and technical skills available in the local market to help grow the company's regional revenues to 30 per cent of worldwide revenues.
With the Asia-Pacific region reporting one of its best results ever in 2000, and double-digit growth figures in all of Borland's key markets, the Australian operation has been one of the company's highest growing subsidiaries.
According to Fuller, the relative size of the Australian IT market has made it possible to test sales strategies locally and to quickly determine their success, giving Borland a distinct competitive advantage that it can share with its global operation.
"It's appropriate that one of our strongest founding markets is also our headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region. The central NSW location makes it convenient to service markets in Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra. It also allows for the development of key relationships with many of our global partners and potential and existing customers, the majority of which also enjoy regional operations in the greater Sydney area."
Borland currently employs more than 200 people throughout the region, about 80 of which are in Australia, of which 18 R&D staff and 16 consultants service its local R&D facility, developing new products and spending time in Asia on short-term assignments.
But the value of having an R&D base in Australia is fast diminishing, according to Fuller. "While Australia still has the people with the skills that aren't as readily available in the rest of the region, once other Asia-Pacific nations get up to speed, the local market will lose its attraction as an R&D base," says Fuller. "Although we are contributing to the local economy, rather than getting incentives, we are hit with a 33 per cent corporate tax."
Fuller explains that in Singapore, where the company also has an R&D facility, it gets more than half of every $1 spent on R&D back as a tax credit.
"Australia is still fortunate that it has a wealth of expertise that can't be readily replicated in the region," says Fuller. "But things are changing in the Asia-Pacific, and when they come up to speed, we will be forced to move our R&D facility to a place where we can ensure a better return on investment for our shareholders."
For now, however, the Australian market is proving kind to Borland. As the demand for cross-platform applications grows, the company says it's also developing environments capable of supporting connections from any number of different user interfaces or automatic processes.
"We are seeing new market trends emerging, and are now in a real position to drive and work with these trends across the enterprise market, helping to define and enable companies to integrate the internet with legacy systems," says Fuller.
"Our newest product is already opening doors by allowing software developers to create applications for the Linux platform as an alternative to Windows. We believe Linux adoption is a trend that will continue to grow, especially in the Asia-Pacific, and look forward to helping drive the penetration of this platform across the globe."
Courtesy of the Australian Industry Standard www.thestandard.com.au