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SAS boosts footprint in China amid big data hopes

Updated: 2013-07-19 07:32
By Lyu Chang ( China Daily)

The world's top provider of business analysis solutions, SAS Institute Inc, stepped up efforts to increase its presence in China amid bullish expectations for the domestic big data market.

The US-based company, which is one of the largest providers of data processing and business analysis services in the world but has a low-profile in China, will expand its direct sales team and increase its R&D investment in the Chinese market, said Keith Collins, the company's senior vice-president and chief technology officer.

Collins added that the company plans to increase its direct sales force by 30 percent and put more than 20 percent of its revenue into R&D investment this year.

"As the volume of data explodes in China, the human capacity to filter through that scale is impossible, the only solution to find now your business is really running is to apply analysis," he said.

These big data tools to analyze patterns and trends culled from data sources such as customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning systems are fast becoming investment priorities for Chinese companies, who are eager to enhance their competitiveness by reducing operational costs and maximizing efficiency.

"The Chinese government has hinted that it would help businesses within its borders develop the infrastructure for storing and analyzing big data," Meng was quoted as saying during an interview with Businessweek, a weekly business magazine published by bloomberg.

The market value of the big data sector in China is expected to hit 5 billion yuan ($803 million) by 2016, according to China Center for Information Industry Development, a government think tank under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Information processing technology has been proposed as one of the four key innovation projects by the ministry for the country's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15).

The other three key innovation projects, including information sensing technology, information transferring technology and information security technology, are all intrinsically linked to big data.

Globally, the banking, finance, telecom and manufacturing sectors will be the priorities, Collins said. In China the financial services sector is SAS's strongest field, accounting for 60 percent of its total revenue.

Cliff Wu, president of SAS China, said that the finance sector is expected to contribute more to the company's business in the coming years as the demand to build up anti-money laundering systems increases.

"We have solutions specifically designed to detect and identify any sort of money laundering behavior," Wu said.

Collins also sees emerging opportunities in retail, telecom and energy sectors in China.

"As China moves into a retail-oriented sector, understanding customers' behavior is extremely important," he said. "We can help retailers to know their customers and processes, forecast demand and optimize processes."

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