IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) announced the opening of a new research facility in Shanghai, China, that the company said will provide clients greater accessibility to IBM Research expertise and opportunities for collaboration with universities and other research institutions. The new facility is an extension of the IBM China Research Laboratory established in Beijing in 1995, one of the company's eight research labs worldwide.
The IBM China Research Lab in Shanghai will focus primarily on areas such as information analytics, Web-delivered service computing, cloud computing, and stream computing. In recognition of the growing importance of services in the global economy, the lab will also work on integrating service science, management, and engineering (SSME) into the Chinese University Curriculum. According to Dr. John E. Kelly III, IBM senior vice president and director of IBM Research, "The establishment of IBM Research in Shanghai reflects both the rich pool of science and engineering talent in China, as well as our continued commitment to expand our collaboration with Chinese enterprises and academic institutions."
Legendary robber Willy Sutton reportedly said that he targeted banks because "that's where the money is." A corollary for this notion exists in technology and other industries, which go "where the talent is" to pursue their research and development efforts. That talent, at least for IT vendors, including IBM, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), clearly resides in Asia, where universities in China alone turn out some 700,000 electrical engineering graduates annually.
As a result, IBM will have ready access to a steady stream of high-quality professionals in engineering and other scientific disciplines. This should be a boon for ongoing company efforts in highly technical efforts, such as cloud and stream computing, information analytics, and Web-based services. But the new Shanghai facility should also succeed as a center of collaborative efforts in developing areas, such as SSME, which IBM has been particularly active and vocal in promoting.
We expect the company's vision of SSME, as the foundation of next-generation IT and business service offerings, will find wide support among China's education and business leaders. But such enthusiasm is just one reason for the company's decision to open the Shanghai facility.