Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Opening the Door to Emerging Markets

The “international” in IBM’s name has never loomed larger. IBM got about 65 percent of its revenue from outside the U.S. last year. Much attention has focused on Brazil, Russia, India and China (known as the BRIC countries) -- rightfully so since IBM BRIC sales climbed 26 percent last year, more than eight times the pace in the U.S., according to IBM filings.(See this Bloomberg story for more.)

But beyond BRIC, there’s a larger group of emerging markets ramping up their economic development. To spur innovation in emerging markets in Africa and central and southeast Asia, for example, IBM is extending Linux and open standards resources there.

This week IBM announced the opening of the IBM Center of Innovation for Linux and Open Standards in Kazakhstan.

The Center’s mission is to drive adoption of open standards and open source technologies in Kazakhstan, the central Asian nation that spans territory larger than Western Europe.
"Kazakhstan faces the ambitious task of growing and enhancing its IT infrastructure very fast to match the demands of a new economy," says Inna Kuznetsova, vp of IBM Systems Software, marketing and sales enablement. "Using open source and standards-based computing, Kazakhstan can avoid the pitfalls of an expensive, proprietary infrastructure and build a more flexible IT foundation."

The interoperability from open standards such as HTML for Web and information structure, and Open Document Format for office documents can help Kazakhstan better deliver goods and services locally, and compete with business globally.

This comes on the heels of IBM’s new software package in Africa that takes advantage of the rising popularity low-cost netbooks and Linux to deliver businesses and government a smarter way to work.

IBM offers Linux expertise and resources in emerging markets through its IBM Innovation Centers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and other locations, such as the Cape Town, South Africa center, which opened earlier this month.

IBM hopes to bridge the so-called "digital divide" that exists among businesses in these countries, especially the growing base of mid-sized firms that are fueling economic growth. Linux is a perfect fit to encourage low-cost, flexible technology in BRIC and beyond.

(Pictured above: Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, where IBM is opening the new Linux Innovation Center. Photo courtesy of Inna Kuznetsova)

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