Adobe says it's committed to China despite piracy

A spokeswoman for Adobe Systems Inc. said Monday that the company remains committed to developing Chinese-language versions of its products, despite comments reportedly made by its chief executive officer last week that Adobe could abandon the market because of software piracy in the region.

Adobe Chief Executive Officer Bruce Chizen told a Chinese newspaper that the company might exit the Chinese-language software market unless the region could better crack down on software piracy. About 94 percent of the software used in China in 2000 was illegally copied, according to the Business Software Association, an industry trade group that tracks such data.

Downplaying Chizen's comments, an Adobe spokeswoman in the U.S. Monday said that Adobe has been encouraged by recent steps to curb software piracy in Asia, and has no plans to discontinue localized software products.

"We remain committed to the Chinese market and to developing Chinese-language versions of our products," said Adobe spokeswoman Autumn Blatchford. "We believe there is tremendous potential in this market. Unfortunately, the piracy rate in China is high which makes it difficult for software companies to make a fair return on their investment."

Quoted in the Friday edition of the South China Morning Post while speaking at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Chizen said that stopping production of Chinese-language products "is a simple business decision."

"It costs (US)$750,000 to localize an application for the Chinese Language and if we are only going to make $500,000 in revenue it does not make sense for us to go ahead," he told the Post. "Until the Chinese government and its citizens realize they are hurting themselves (by using illegally copied software) it is hard for us to make an investment."

Adobe sells a number of products localized in traditional Chinese for customers in Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as simplified Chinese for customers in mainland China. Its publishing software Photoshop, Illustrator and Pagemaker account for a large portion of its business in the region, the company said.

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