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IBM Opens China Lab

Researchers at the facility will build predictive analytics software to increase customers' ability to forecast trends, reduce waste, and spot fraud.

IBM opened a research laboratory in China devoted to the development of predictive analytics software, the company announced Wednesday.

Staffers at the facility, in the city of Xi'an in the country's interior, will focus on building tools for customers in the banking, healthcare, telecommunications, and energy industries.

"We appreciate and welcome that IBM is enhancing investment in Xi'an," said Jing Junhai, vice governor of Shaanxi province, of which Xi'an is the capital.

Businesses use predictive analytics software to increase their ability to forecast market trends, reduce waste, and spot unusual patterns that may be a sign of fraud.

IBM officials said the lab's opening will bolster the company's smart business strategy, under which it's creating offerings designed to help customers automate numerous aspects of their operations.

"IBM is focusing on helping clients gain faster intelligence on their information to improve their business operations and predict trends before they occur," said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive over IBM's software unit, in a statement.

"IBM is uniquely positioned with an unmatched portfolio to help organizations not only cope with data deluge, but gain actionable insight into their most strategic asset—their business information," said Mills.

IBM has made a number of acquisitions in recent years with an eye to bolstering its portfolio of business intelligence and analytics products. Most significantly, the company bought out Canadian developer Cognos in 2007 for $4.9 billion.

Market watcher IDC expects the market for business analytics software will grow at an annual compound rate of 10% from 2009 to 2013.

IBM shares were up .23%, to $129.67, in early trading Wednesday.

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