International, the Beijing-based software company listed on London's
Aim market, is opening up a second seam in China's business software
market by going after small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Geong specialises in enterprise content management software, a
market that was all the range in the west a few years back as big
businesses turned to ECM to better manage the sprawling amount of
information held on their websites and intranets. However, several
stand-alone ECM vendors have been acquired as the trend today for
businesses to get their ECM software within a suite from broad-based
vendors like Microsoft and SAP.
While the sun seems to be setting on the stand-alone ECM industry in
the west, Geong's rapid rise — its share price has doubled in just two
months — shows investors believe there is still a lot to play for in
Having recently bagged a clutch of contracts with financial
institutions automotive giants operating in China, Geong is now turning
its sights on smaller businesses, which tend to be a lot more reticent
about spending money on IT — and not just in China.
Today, Geong announced
it had signed an alliance agreement with the Shanghai Enterprise
Information Promotion Centre for SMEs to promote SmartBox, Geong's
SME-focused product, to Shanghai-based businesses.
An anonymous investor and EngagingChina reader, feels SmartBox takes Geong into a different league — the junior league presumably — and he recently commented on our site:
As an investor in Geong on AIM I wondered if you had any thoughts
about the likely success of SmartBox, their new solution for small and
medium-sized businesses? PortalAge has and is doing extremely well, but
in theory SmartBox could take Geong into a different league. Do you
have any views on this or on Geong's recent contract wins – their
customer list is amazing for such a small company?”
To be sure, there are a lot more SMEs in China than banks and
multinationals — the target market for its high-end PortalAge product.
According to the Shanghai EIPC, there are almost 340,000 SMEs just in
the Shanghai region.
But the SME market is a notoriously difficult one for software
companies to reach, particularly in a country like China where a large
part of a software vendor's time and resources goes on simply educating
the market about the potential advantages.
Nevertheless, focusing resources on one region and linking up with
the Shanghai EIPC seem smart moves. Shanghai EIPC and Geong intend to
target SMEs by holding joint seminars to demonstrate the benefits of
SmartBox. Following the demonstrations, the SMEs will be entitled to a
30 day free trial as well as a promotional price on the software.
Earlier this month, Geong signed contracts worth $260,000 with Haitong Securities and China Asset Management for its high-end PortalAge software. In January, it signed a clutch of contracts
with China Construction Bank, FAW Volkswagen and Shanghai General
Motors. Those deals, again for Geong's PortalAge software, have a
combined value of almost $1m.
EngagingChina wrote about Geong in this earlier story.