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Technology / AI and automation


A couple of weeks ago, the Chinese government declared it had selected six Chinese companies that it would back in order to build each of these companies into one of the top 500 companies in the world. One of these was a software development company called the Founder Group. Founder Group, or Fang Zheng Group of Beijing, is a Chinese software development company founded in 1993 as the business body of Peking University, which remains its single largest shareholder. The company provides products and services, including personal computer manufacturing, systems integration, and particularly publishing systems and color printing systems. Founder Group is a market leader in Chinese-language publishing systems, with a 78% market share in the People’s Republic of China. In foreign markets, for example, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan, Founder has dominated the Chinese-language pre-press publishing industry with 80%, 90% and 70% of total market shares respectively. A year and a half ago, the company targeted Japan, where the pre-press market was estimated at $10bn. Allan X. L. Zhang, president of Founder Hong Kong Ltd, said Tokyo operations are now turning a profit. Founder selected local distributors strategically, he said, and these include IBM Corp Japan, among others. Armed with this formula, Founder intends to win over the Korean markets next. The company has a research group of 400 programmers, 33 subsidiaries and 300 sales offices in China, all of which distribute and support its products and services. One of its subsidiaries, Founder Hong Kong Ltd is a publicly-traded company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Founder sells its wares on three continents, Asia, North America and Europe, and has distributor relationships with leading US software firms including Microsoft Corp, Oracle Corp and Informix Inc. Last year, Founder Group’s revenues totaled $470m; about 45% of which was from international sales. The company says its corporate strength lies in its research and development capabilities and its extensive distribution and after-sales service network. Although Founder’s clients have traditionally come out of the core group of 4,000 newspapers, book and magazine printing companies in China, the company has identified its next domestic market – office automation systems for China’s government offices and computerized management systems for China’s 10,000 or so television and radio stations. So far Founder’s strategy has been to remain within the confines of the information technology needs of Asian-language publishers throughout the world. However, Zhang envisages taking on world competitors among American or Japanese software companies by the year 2000, when Founder will launch an RIP Raster Image Processor product for the English language market.

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CBR Staff Writer

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