The second-largest PC software-maker in the United States may stop localising its products for China and other markets in Asia due to the high rate of piracy in the region. Adobe Systems chief executive Bruce Chizen said his company might not offer Chinese-language support for future versions of its publishing and networking products, such as the widely used Photoshop image editor and Acrobat file-sharing software. 'It is a simple business decision. It costs US$750,000 to localise an application for the Chinese language and if we are only going to make US$500,000 in revenue it does not make sense for us to go ahead,' Mr Chizen said in an interview during the MacWorld Expo. 'Until the Chinese Government and its citizens realise they are hurting themselves [by using illegally copied software] it is hard for us to make an investment.' Other software firms, including Microsoft, have also complained about high piracy rates in Asia, claiming that the problem cost them US$4.1 billion in lost revenue during 2000. The Business Software Alliance, of which Adobe is a member, estimated in 2000 that 94 per cent of the software used in China was illegally copied, setting one of the highest piracy rates in the world. Region-wide, the organisation believes the piracy rate was 51 per cent. The alliance said that China, where research firm IDG forecasts that 13.2 million computers will be sold next year, accounted for a loss of US$1.1 billion. In India, where Adobe has a large research and development centre, the company claims manufacturers and retailers routinely include illegal copies of software with new computers. Mr Chizen said Adobe recognised the efforts some governments in Asia were making to protect intellectual property. However, he was less positive when asked specifically about China's highly publicised anti-piracy campaign. 'I do not know if it is succeeding or failing. We have not seen the impact. China is a big challenge for us.' Mr Chizen recently travelled to Beijing and was able to buy for US$3 a CD carrying pirated versions of all his company's software products. He rejected suggestions that the piracy rate would fall if software-makers lowered their prices so their products were more affordable. 'It does not make a difference what our prices are. It is hard to beat US$3,' he said. Adobe's products are widely used in Asia, especially the Acrobat reader, which provides a platform for viewing files over the Internet. The company says it has distributed 379 million copies of the software. According to Adobe, most images and documents on the Internet are created or modified with its applications. Mr Chizen said Adobe's software was the most popular of its type in almost every Asian country, yet the region other than Japan generated only about 4 per cent of its US$1.2 billion in annual revenue. Japan, where piracy rates were lower, generated about 16 per cent of Adobe's revenue, far more than the rest of Asia combined. If Adobe were to stop localising its products for Asia, it would go against the industry trend of creating products in local languages, especially for China's rapidly growing market. Mr Chizen said Adobe and other US-based companies were lobbying the Government in Washington at levels as high as Vice-President Dick Cheney, asking for help in 'educating' Asian political leaders about the need to protect intellectual property.