| BEIJING, Sept 4
BEIJING, Sept 4 U.S.-based Symantec Corp
has continued to do business with Chinese government
agencies despite media reports last month suggesting that China
has blacklisted the firm's security software in favour of
domestic products, said a top executive.
Adrian Jones, a former Oracle executive who was named
Symantec's senior vice president for the Asia region in June,
dismissed reports of a government ban as "noise", saying he
expected positive sales growth in China this year, potentially
outpacing the country's economic expansion.
"We still have GDP growth of 6 to 7 percent a year, so if we
can grow more than that, double that, that'd be great," Jones
said in an interview at Symantec's Beijing offices this week. "I
expect good growth in China this year."
Symantec's status in China came under scrutiny in August
after the state-owned China Daily newspaper reported that the
government's central procurement office had removed foreign
vendors from its list of approved antivirus software due to
Jones said the company had not received "any official notice
that we're banned from anything", and had maintained business
deals with a broad array of state-owned firms including nearly
all of the country's telecom providers "in some shape or form."
Symantec, the world's fourth-largest software firm, does not
break out its China revenues, but said last month that its
Asia-Pacific and Japan sales picked up slightly on a
quarter-to-quarter basis after falling steeply for four
consecutive quarters in part due to poor performance and
currency fluctuations in Japan.
Revenues in Asia, which were down 2 percent year-over-year,
represented $300 million out of the company's $1.74 billion in
Jones reiterated the company's forecast for flat revenue
growth worldwide this year, but said he expected to expand the
footprint in Greater China, where Symantec now employs 1,400
employees, or 7 percent of its global workforce, in nine cities.
As a whole Symantec has been roiled by management turmoil
amidst slumping revenues. In March, Symantec replaced its chief
executive for the second time in less than two years, prompting
talk among activist investors and private equity firms of a
potential breakup or sale.
The company meanwhile has taken criticism for failing to
quickly roll out new products in the face of competition from
smaller firms like Fireye Inc and increasingly Qihoo
360 Technology Co Ltd, the Beijing-based company that
went public in New York in 2011 and is considered a fast-growing
rival in the Chinese market.
Jones said the rising Chinese contenders offer piecemeal
solutions for areas such as antivirus software but still cannot
offer comprehensive service that covers a large corporation's
mobile devices, emails, information storage and network
"People may say we haven't done enough innovation, but we've
got 12 products between now and the end of the year that we're
launching," Jones said. "We're going to continue to innovate."
(Editing by Ryan Woo)