The S$1m (£385,085) IBM Software Institute will initially offer 10 Singaporean software development companies a test environment for WebSphere applications, along with technical support and training from IBM consultants.
Small and medium-sized enterprises represent the largest growth opportunity for electronic business products and services, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. IBM is therefore keen to encourage independent software vendors to provide applications which run over the WebSphere middleware infrastructure, the company said.
The institute will operate as part of IBM's commitment to Singapore under the government's Infocomm Local Industry Upgrading Program (iLIUP) scheme. Under iLIUP, which the government has backed to the tune of S$11 million so far, multinational technology companies are encouraged to take on local partners and provide them with leading edge technology and technical support and marketing expertise.
The aim is to enable small Singapore companies to develop advanced products and sell them into the global market, where WebSphere is used by over 50,000 customers..
Multinationals involved in iLIUP include IBM, Microsoft, Computer Associates International, Oracle, Compaq, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Software AG and Apple Computer.
IBM has a major software laboratory in India, which concentrates on IBM Linux initiatives and a lab in Japan researching Java, XML and data mining technologies. IBM's China Research Laboratory (CRL) in Beijing develops technologies specific to the Chinese market.