International insight from SAP Labs China

SAP Labs China is emerging as a key development center. Find out why and learn how SAP Labs China contributes to the SAP product line and the budding Chinese applications market.

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SAP Labs China plays a leading role in developing SAP's SMB-focused product lines and is rapidly emerging as an important development center in the world's second-largest economy. SearchSAP.com spoke to Shang-Ling Jui, president of SAP Labs China, in order to learn more about the group's contribution to the SAP product line and the budding Chinese applications market.

What is the exact headcount at SAP Labs China? What are the growth plans?

Shang-Ling Jui: Around 1,200 people, mainly in Shanghai. In the next two to three years, we won't see significant growth. We're shifting from quantity to quality growth. We want to have more contributions in areas such as solution architecture and design.

Which global products does SAP Labs China work on?

Jui: Seventy percent of our people work on SAP Business One, All-in-One and Business By Design. We also work on the financials part of ERP, GRC [governance, risk and compliance], some industry solutions and custom development.

In addition to serving global SMB customers, does the work done at SAP Labs China also affect the Chinese applications market?

Jui: Ninety percent of our efforts focus on the global market, and the remaining effort is for the Chinese market. We expect to see 20% to 30% of our total effort directed to the Chinese market soon. The Chinese market has huge potential, although the absolute revenue is still small. In the past seven years, the Chinese SAP market has been growing at a CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 70%.

What is the relationship between SAP China and SAP India?

Jui: There's very close cooperation. I've known Clas Neumann [head of SAP Labs India] very well since the early 1990s. On the product development level, the two labs have a different focus, and India has a bigger portfolio. But we share best practices and exchange information on a regular basis.

Does SAP China hire from outside the country?

Jui: Five percent of our colleagues are from outside the country. These colleagues come from 14 countries. China itself produces a very healthy employee base. There are 5 million available graduates every year. For every open position here, we get 100 resumes. When we hire from within China, we try to represent all the different regions and subcultures here.

What does SAP envision as China's regional role? Will it ever rival India's role, for example?

Jui: China is trying very hard to catch up to India. China produces the same number of graduates as India and has a larger population than India, but China is not as organized and professionalized for global industry needs as India. Still, China is doing everything in its power.

This was first published in March 2008

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