Silicon Graphics (SGI) says its Asian operations are healthy and profitable, and it has no plans to lay off staff in the region. The company, best known for high-speed graphics workstations, said its revenues in the region, including Japan, grew 22 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter ending September 30. 'We are profitable,' said Don Carkeek, SGI's East Asian marketing director, adding that it might add employees to its 700-strong staff in the region. Two weeks ago, SGI said it lost US$56 million in its most recent financial quarter and, as a result, would lay off 1,000 - or about 9 per cent - of its 11,000 employees. SGI remains a leader in supercomputers and graphics workstations, which are popular with design and film production companies. But SGI has been harder pressed to convince corporations to buy its Unix-based servers. Despite making up almost half of the company's $3.67 billion in revenues, server sales by SGI lag behind market leaders IBM Corp, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems. In Asia, excluding Japan, SGI had an 8 per cent market share of servers in the $100,000 to $250,000 range, placing it behind HP, Sun and IBM, according to technology consultancy International Data Corp (IDC). Server sales, which primarily came from its now-phased-out Indy line, and its year-old line of Origin servers, grew 329 per cent last year, making up a third of SGI's total Asian revenue. Workstation sales made up the rest, totalling about $490 million. SGI sells a range of low-end desktop workstations such as the O2, which starts about $9,000, and the Onyx2, which can simultaneously run 16 processors. SGI was strongest in Japan, where its servers were used for industrial and software design, Mr Carkeek said. Workstation sales in Japan accounted for about half of SGI revenues in the region. Citing IDC figures, SGI said it had 24 per cent of the Unix workstation market in China by revenue, placing it second behind Sun. But Mr Carkeek acknowledged that the Unix workstation market was growing slowly. To break into the corporate server market, SGI wanted to differentiate itself from other vendors by playing up its strengths in 'visual computing'. 'We don't want to be all things to all people,' Mr Carkeek said. 'If you just want to do word processing, don't go with us.' Mr Carkeek said SGI servers such as the Origin series, which can easily add up to 128 processors in parallel for extra computing power, would be perfect for firms setting up huge data warehouses or otherwise handling what he called 'big data'. Threatened on the low-end, SGI also plans to sell Windows NT workstations. Mr Carkeek believed that SGI's strong brand reputation would help it immediately win market share. The company has not announced any other details about its Windows NT workstations. Mr Carkeek acknowledged that SGI was experiencing some troubles, though he was confident that the company's fortunes were on the rise in the region. 'We're in a ditch. It's our turn,' he said. 'But what's important is how we handle that transition.'