Sun Dubs China "Java-Powered"

Sun Microsystems' China strategy continues apace this week at what is being billed as the largest-ever developer conference in that country. JavaChina 2005 is reportedly drawing 10,000 Chinese Java jocks to Beijing for two days of workshops, breakout sessions, hands-on labs and to hear Sun CEO Scott McNealy and Java progenitor James Gosling hold forth in keynote presentations.

"China is in a unique position to leverage Java technology and grow alongside the world's leading centers of software development and innovation," McNealy says. "Today's multibillion-dollar Java economy was built on shared technology and continues to gain momentum through the 4.5 million developers who create new services for the more than 2.5 billion Java platform-enabled devices in use worldwide."

Sun claims that China is now home to more than 200,000 Java developers, and that Chinese developers are now using Java technology on more types of mobile devices, smart cards, ATMs, thin clients, PCs, servers and mainframes than any other software. These numbers are difficult to verify, but if they're accurate, Sun might be forgiven for the somewhat hyperbolic characterization of China's burgeoning IT community as "Java-powered." The announcement by a number of leading Chinese ISVs that they have migrated to the Solaris operating system is more good news for Sun.

Sun's interest in the potentially vast Chinese market came to light in 2003, when the company disclosed it had agreed to work with China Standard Software to develop desktop computers based on Sun's Linux-based Java Desktop System. Sun hoped the deal would lead to the installation of the software on hundreds of millions of computers in China, McNealy told JavaTrends at the time.

"We're going to immediately roll out the Java Desktop System to between a half-million and a million desktops in the coming year," McNealy said. "This, I believe, makes us instantaneously the number-one Linux desktop play in the planet."

China Standard Software—a consortium of Chinese government-supported firms—was established to bring a Linux-based desktop to 200 million Chinese computer users.

JavaChina 2005 is co-organized by the China Software Industry Association and China Information Industry Trade Association. More information is available at JavaChina.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].