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Salesforce.com Readies Asia-Pacific Push

On-demand customer relationship management vendor Salesforce.com is set to announce its expansion into the hot Asia-Pacific region.

Edmund Ang, recently appointed general manager of Asia for Salesforce.com, has been tapped to head a new Singapore office. He will join other company executives at a media event next week to discuss the direction of Salesforce.com in the region.

The trio will also shed light on the company's business model, which is responsible for its popularity in the CRM space. Since its start five years ago, Salesforce.com has amassed more than 168,000 users interested in obtaining customizable enterprise apps.

The eastward move follows other recent Salesforce.com noise in the CRM arena.

Last week, the San Francisco-based company launched sforce, an online marketplace for developers, IT professionals, ISVs and partners to browse through third-party enhancements. The site provides sample code, toolkits and testing environments to customers so they can augment Salesforce.com's service to their liking.

And in September, the company announced a new on-demand business model called Supportforce.com to assist companies that outsource their customer service divisions. An extension of Salesforce.com's basic model, Supportforce.com provides basic automation software over the Web and adds its customer relationship software, as well as key aspects of sforce.

The Asia-Pacific region is steadily becoming a popular draw for vendors from various industries looking to expand their reach.

Today, HP announced it will join Intel to launch an Industry Innovation Center in Shanghai to highlight technology targeting the area's finance, manufacturing, public sector and telecommunications industries.

First up are demonstrations of technology geared toward China's financial industry, which is expected to grow 72 percent from $4.71 billion this year to $8.08 billion by 2008, according to IDC. Self-service e-banking counters, RFID-enabled credit cards and digital pens that capture form content with a miniature digital camera are among the center's early highlights.

Also, tech distributor Ingram Micro recently acquired Australia-based Tech Pacific for approximately $493 million. IBM last month announced the IBM Innovation Center in Beijing to work on putting software from ISVs the world over into the computers of small- to medium-sized businesses in China. And Cisco and AMD invested healthy sums in the region so the companies can better serve their Asian customers.