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SAP Takes HANA to China With Help From Lenovo

Already partners, the two companies have big plans to bring SAP's "bet the company" database to large companies.


German business software company SAP is teaming up with Lenovo, the Chinese computing hardware giant, in a deal that will bring its HANA database to China.

“HANA is not really in China in a meaningful way,” said Gerry Smith, COO of Lenovo’s PC and server business. SAP doesn’t break out revenue by country, but its regional breakdown shows that its overall revenue in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, is smaller than in other regions, amounting to about 12 percent of sales last year.

The basic plan, the two companies say, calls for what they describe as a “significant strengthening” of an existing partnership. They’ll not only work together building and tuning hardware specifically to run SAP’s HANA database, but will cooperate on going after customers together at jointly run operations in Germany, North Carolina and China.

“We run HANA internally on our own systems, and we think we can demonstrate better implementations than our competitors,” said Smith. Those competitors, of course, are Dell and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, both of which have their own hardware products specifically aimed at running SAP software.

SAP’s founder Hasso Plattner described HANA in a Re/code interview as a “bet the company” creation. Earlier this month, its quarterly sales bested the expectations of analysts. It leads the market for software that large companies use to run their manufacturing operations, but more often than not those applications have been run on databases built by its bitter rival Oracle, which competes with SAP on the applications front.

Lenovo, you may recall, bought IBM’s commodity server business unit in 2014. Soon after closing on that deal, it sought to boost sales with large companies by stitching partnerships with other players in that ecosystem including SAP, EMC and Nutanix.

Correction: We fixed a quoted statement above, which referred to the HANA product specifically not SAP generally, for accuracy.

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