Nasdaq-listed Epicor Software, which helps small and medium-size companies launch electronic businesses, is attempting to break into the mainland market with English-language software translated into Chinese. The California-based firm has put in much effort and gone to great expense to translate its applications, said senior vice-president of worldwide sales Vincent Sheeran. China 'is a market that everyone wants to get into', he said. Epicor already has translated its electronic back-office and front-office software into Chinese, and is doing the same with its electronic storefront and procurement software, which it expects to release next year. Mr Sheeran, on his first visit to Epicor's Hong Kong office, said the company planned to focus on the mainland and surrounding areas, along with South America, next year. Epicor, founded in 1984, has expanded during the past few years, partly through acquisitions, into one of the largest firms in its field. However, this rapid growth caused staff duplication, forcing the company to cut staff by 11 per cent at the end of last year, Mr Sheeran said. In the second quarter this year, the company was in the red after taking some acquisition-related write-offs. Epicor had planned its Chinese product launch long before the announcement that China would enter the World Trade Organisation and benefit from improved trade relations with the United States, he said. Epicor's English products include Epicor eCommerce, eFront Office, eBackOffice and ePort als. Finnian Tseng, regional managing director for Asia, said companies in China must report their earnings and key developments to the government, and Epicor's software enabled them to produce these reports. The company hires locals for teams in Hong Kong, Taiwan and its regional headquarters in Singapore, and works with resellers on the mainland. Mr Sheeran said the company was considering opening offices in Beijing and Shanghai, but had no immediate plans. In Hong Kong to speak at a forum on small and medium-size enterprises, Mr Sheeran said many companies in North America and Asia were under-automated or not automated at all. Today's use of the Internet for business transactions was just the beginning of the curve, he said: 'The marketplace has a way to go to fully embrace that.'