perotsystemslogo.pngPerot Systems, the US IT services firm, has discovered China and has just launched a Mandarin-language website. Better late than never, you might say.

Unlike its bigger and better known rival EDS, which has had an office in China since 1992, Perot Systems is a relative latecomer and only started to engage with China in 2005. But it is not always the early bird that catches the worm.

Indeed, Perot has already signed some strategically important deals in China, including one to improve the computerised reservation system of Hainan Airlines and another to implement healthcare information systems for Hunan province.

To help Chinese businesses get to know Perot Systems, its new Chinese website contains translations of the main US corporate website and addition features that “portray the company's value proposition” to the Chinese market.

Let's hope they have a good translator, otherwise “value proposition” risks being translated as “cheap”. And I'm pretty sure that is not the image that Perot Systems, founded by multi-billionaire Ross Perot, wants to convey to Chinese businesses.

A former IBM salesman, Perot is best known as the founder of EDS and he made his fortune selling it to General Motors. He went onto to found Perot Systems and also tried his luck as US presidential candidate.

Partly because of its founder's strong military links, Perot Systems has long suffered from the erroneous perception that it is heavily dependent on US federal government contracts.

Nevertheless, over the years it has diversified and its most recent financial results reveal that around half its revenues came from healthcare sector, 29% from commercial customers, and the remaining 24% from federal contracts.

Its unlikely that Perot Systems will be able to parlay its success in the US federal IT market into deals with China's Red Army.

But its decision to focus its non-federal activities on key vertical markets such as healthcare and travel could pay dividends in a market like China, as these are sectors that are in need of modern IT systems.

This specialisation allows Perot Systems to differentiate itself from bigger IT services firms like EDS and Accenture that are also eyeing China and are more generalist in scope.

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