November 13, 2006
Middleware has attracted the interest of international magnates including IBM, ORACLE and SAP. Yet when opening and expanding the middleware market in China, they were confronted with strong resistance from native software enterprises, not like their success in the database and operating system markets. With their self-proclaimed advantages in price and services, native middleware enterprises headed by TongTech, CVIC SE and Primeton, have continued to hold around a 50 percent market share.
As the adoption and application of information technology proceeds and prevails in China, a large group of high-end application projects has begun to well up, providing a new opportunity for native Chinese software manufacturers. These projects focused on the industry and its integration, with which native enterprises were quite familiar. Taking advantage of this opportunity, native middleware enterprises conceived a counterattack, and launched a "substitution strategy," participating in the face-to-face competition with international manufacturers such as BEA. They were then rewarded with achievements in many upgrade projects in the finance and telecom industry.
The intensification of competition has emphasized the value of talent. In early 2006, the Chinese middleware industry launched a talent war. On one hand, marketing talent was badly needed as the competition pressure weighed upon enterprises such as IBM and BEA; on the other hand, an increased demand for talent in consultation and management areas had to be granted with the development of native middleware enterprises. At the same time, the whole middleware industry, with the birth of such frameworks as SOA, called for more high-end technical talent. The Chinese middleware industry was thus involved in a war for talent in various markets, including marketing, consultation, management and technology.
In this war, international enterprise companies preferred ready "old hands" while native enterprises such as TongTech paid more attention to the cultivation of quasi-talents, meaning undergraduates in software colleges. With this in mind, TongTech organized a tour of software schools in Tongji University, Fudan University, Sichuan University, University of Electronic Science and Technology, South China University of Technology, Sun Yat-Sen University, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xidian University, Beihang University and Peking University. The purpose was quite obvious, to recruit talent.
The search was a success thanks to TongTech's leading reputation in the industry. A mutual sentiment was found among the Chinese students from software schools. From their point of view, middleware is the pride of the Chinese software industry and should thus be supported. Under the influence of this collective notion, such medium-sized enterprises as TongTech were well received among them, only inferior to IBM, the world software magnate. In this round of war for middleware talent, national software enterprises such as TongTech defeated international enterprises. And this advantage is crucial to the high-technology-intensive middleware industry. It is possible to change the course of the whole industry.
In its quest to find talent, TongTech established the China SOA Club, the first such community for SOA research and communication in China. The club aims at attracting and cultivating interest in middleware and accelerating the application and international integration of Chinese middleware and SOA techniques through a series of online and offline activities.
"Middleware, as the only field in the Chinese software industry that keeps pace with the world front technique, is a field of great prospect and promising achievements. At present it has come to a historical turning point. We know the importance of talent to the development of software enterprises, and the importance of talent cultivation to the development of the whole national software industry. Therefore, we will make more efforts in the cultivation of middleware and SOA talents to support and promote the development of self-made software industry, taking advantage of talent as the decisive force for success and the core drive of Chinese middleware industry," said Mr. Xu Zhidong, vice president of TongTech.
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