Red Flag Linux Targets Global Market

Red Flag Software is making expansion plans and aims to take its mainland China-developed Red Flag Linux software to the international market.

According to Liu Bo, chief executive officer and president of Red Flag Software, the overwhelming response to the company's Linux distribution in the mainland has given the company confidence to take Red Flag to the global market.

Liu said Linux currently has a 13.6 percent share of the server operating system market in China, according to International Data Corp., and has the potential to grow even further.

"We hope to take Linux to perhaps 25 percent share in the OS (operating system) market," he said. "In the U.S., Linux has over a 26 percent market share, according to IDC, so we have great confidence in the development of Linux in China," added Liu.

Liu didn't reveal the exact timeframe of when Red Flag would be available worldwide, except to say that it would be some time within the next two years.

Red Flag's top priority, Liu explained, would be to deliver a traditional-character Chinese version of its Linux distribution by the fourth quarter of this year, and then move on to other Asian languages, including Japanese and Korean. He added that coming up with an English version is also in the cards, although he declined to say when an English-language version might be available.

"The industry is moving very fast, so we are moving as fast as possible," Liu said. "We have to take our time to assess the situation for our globalization exercise and work with our partners to push this plan forward."

To promote Red Flag regionally, the company has formed a partnership with Sun Wah Hi-Tech, to run a newly formed Red Flag Linux training and technical center in Hong Kong.

The alliance will initially focus on the Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan markets, and then expand globally, company official said.

Immediate plans for the China market, according to Red Flag company officials, include promoting Linux use among desktop users in the mainland. "We are going to make an announcement on August 4 to challenge (Microsoft) Windows, because we think there's great potential in the desktop business," said Professor Sun Yufang, deputy director of the China Academy of Sciences' Institute of Software and chairman of Red Flag.

Sun said Red Flag Linux will be able to beat Windows not only in terms of price, but also in terms of "security, scalability and accountability."

Liu added that Red Flag will emerge "far better than Microsoft" with its plans to localize Linux to meet specific global needs. "I used to be a (vice president) at Microsoft China, so I should know," he said.

Red Flag officials also confirmed plans to conduct multiple stock listings within and outside the mainland. However, due to the volatility of the current market, plans will be "kept under consideration," Liu said. "To get listed on the stock market is a goal for Red Flag, although it is definitely not the first and only aim," he said.

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