Novell Inc, a major distributor of the Linux operating system, expects its revenue from China to more than double this year as the open-source software continues to gain ground, senior company officials said.
"A number of our customers have chosen to buy upgrade services for their existing Linux systems this year," said Chang Sen-ming, managing director of Novell East Asia. "That will help us to outpace the average market growth here."
Novell is now one of the world's largest distributors of the Linux operating system, a fledgling competitor of Microsoft's Windows. The system has been one of the fastest growing over the past decade.
Presently, Novell generates most of its revenue from the server market as Microsoft's Windows system still holds the lion's share of the desktop segment.
But in recent years, an increasing number of the world's top PC makers have been embracing Linux, especially in China, where the government has required local PC makers to pre-install patented operating systems to reduce piracy.
Earlier this August, China's largest PC maker, Lenovo Group, said it would introduce a broad line of ThinkPad laptops equipped with Novell's Linux systems, which was seen as the strongest endorsement so far of the open source software by a major PC maker.
Dell Inc said this Tuesday that it would pre-install Novell's Linux system in two of its desktop models in China. The PC giant also plans to roll out about 30 desktop models installed with Novel's Linux systems for its corporate users as early as the end of this year.
As part of Novell's cooperation with Dell, the company has also opened a new call center in Beijing to offer software technical support. The company already has a similar call center in South China's Shenzhen.
"Cooperation with PC makers such as Dell will help us break into the small and medium-sized enterprise market," said Chang. "We are now also in talks with other PC makers in China for similar cooperation."
The US software maker plans to more than double its research and marketing team in China by 2009 to capture a larger slice of its Linux market, according to Chang. Presently, Novell, US-based Red Hat Linux and Beijing-based Red Flag Linux, are the three top Linux software makers in China.
The nation's Linux market is projected to grow fivefold from 2006 to 2010 to $51.1 million, according to a report by IT researcher IDC.