Kingsoft Offers Business Software Alternative

As one of the largest software providers in China, Kingsoft has aroused general concerns by its recent "Licensed Products, China" seminar.

The concerns not only pinpoint the sore spot of Chinese software industry in pirated software, but also profit from the over ten years of efforts by Kingsoft against the world largest software giant Microsoft in the Chinese office software market which also made Kingsoft a banner of Chinese national industry.

The latest action in contending with Microsoft is Kingsoft's introduction of its latest version of WPS OFFICE in May. It is the first time for Kingsoft to put the word "OFFICE" in the names of its WPS products by which means to point out the spearhead of the competition without saying.

In mid-June, Microsoft also brooked no delay in promoting its "Interplanetary Space Probes" action and introduced the Chinese version of OFFICE XP. Microsoft claims it will keep on consolidating its over 90 percent of proportion in the Chinese office software market.

Stricken by the pirated software, licensed software market is in a critical time. Therefore, it is very difficult to accurately determine the proportion of Kingsoft's WPS system and Microsoft's OFFICE system in the Chinese office software market. Anyhow, according to the analysis by related circles, even if there is a discrepancy in Microsoft's claims over "more than 90 percent of the market", it still basically reflects the current competitive situation.

Probably pressured by the strong power of Microsoft, Lei Jun, general-manager of Kingsoft expressed at a low key that Kingsoft and Microsoft are simply two competitors of different ranks. Some media actually over-praised Kingsoft by saying Kingsoft is to fight Microsoft. The strength ratio between Kingsoft and Microsoft should be 1:10000 instead of the so-called 1:1.

Since Microsoft monopolizes the global market of office software, it corners the market of operational system as the unique overlord in control. Kingsoft has no other choice but to cooperate with Microsoft because it is impossible for an applied software enterprise to completely break away from the cooperation with a system software manufacturer, said Lei candidly.

Lei stressed that Kingsoft and Microsoft hold the same position in anti-pirated software action. Especially for a national software enterprise like Kingsoft, the strike of pirated software is destructive.

Although he did not say a single word about the challenge to Microsoft, Lei Ju still expressed ambitiously that Kingsoft will never lightly give up the Chinese office software market. Although it is not practical to beat Microsoft, its WPS still has the opportunities to get equal shares with Microsoft in the market concerned.

With more and more users embracing licensed products, Kingsoft's WPS will have a broader prospect for its high quality and outstanding functions and a preferable price merely about one fifth or one tenth of that of Microsoft's OFFICE.

Besides, Lei Jun emphasized that comparing with Microsoft, Kingsoft is a small provider. However, just because it is a small provider, it is much more flexible. Especially since it owns independent intellectual property and its products have relatively high security functions, Kingsoft can provide special products and services to some special users such as sensitive departments of state security which can be a breakthrough in knocking down Microsoft's hegemony.

Kingsoft places another stake in its potential customers. So far it has unfolded many cooperative items with some universities, high schools and primary schools and vigorously promoted its WPS Chinese office software system. In some areas, the popularization rate of WPS products in educational field has hit about 90 percent. To develop a large number of users with favorable loyalty to WPS is absolutely one of the important steps of Kingsoft's strategy of "taking away the firewood from under the cauldron".

As China has become the second largest PC market of the world, the competition on Chinese office software will become more and more fierce. With Microsoft intensifying its momentum in developing local products and quickening the expansion step by dint of its advantages in operational system, experts in the software circle point out that the competition between Kingsoft and Microsoft in office software will certainly become white hot.

(People’s Daily 07/04/2001)

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