Business software supplier SAP is taking steps to boost its research and development activities in China as it expands into one of its fastest growing markets.
After establishing a research facility in Shanghai at the end of last year, SAP has begun construction of a new R&D campus in the Shanghai Pudong Software Park, company spokesman Markus Berner said on Wednesday . Construction of the new campus is planned in three phases to allow for future expansion.
"Each phase will add capacity for 500 software developers," Berner said. "But we currently have no plans for phases two and three."
The reason for the three-phase expansion plan, according to Berner, is that SAP wants to be in a position to expand quickly and flexibly if and when it sees a need to increase its local research team. "China is one of our fastest growing markets," Berner said. "We want to be prepared."
More than 800 companies in China, many of them subsidiaries of big multinational companies such as Volkswagen, are currently using SAP software products, according to Berner. The list of large Chinese companies using the software includes the China National Overseas Oil Corporation and Petroleum and Chemical Corporation.
The company expects to have up to 450 software developers in China by the end of next year, according to Berner. SAP Labs China currently employs 200 developers.
The Chinese lab will focus on product localisation, software systems for small and medium-size businesses and other technology-related developments. The Shanghai facility joins four other so-called "focus labs," in Tokyo, Montreal, Sophia Antipolis (France) and Sofia (Bulgaria).
SAP also operates four global research hubs at its headquarters in Germany, California, India and Israel.
John Blau writes for the IDG News Service