Demand for comprehensive customer data in China is growing rapidly as competition in various industries is at an all-time high, according to officials from United States software firm Teradata. Mark Hurd, president of NCR and chief operating officer at Teradata, yesterday said large mainland companies had learned how to implement customer relationship management by watching early adopters in the West. 'Chinese companies, as we see it, won't make the same mistakes that a number of US companies have made because they got into enterprise decision support system projects too fast, too soon,' Mr Hurd said. He said China's gradual adoption of relationship management marked the increased globalisation of industries, which meant mainland firms were also keen to drive costs down and be faster to market with products and services. These developments offered a great opportunity for Teradata in China, Mr Hurd said. Ohio-based Teradata, a division of automated teller machine specialist NCR, is the leader in data-warehousing software with revenues of US$1.3 billion last year. Teradata has installed some of the world's largest commercial data warehouses, including a system that handles more than 125 terabytes of data for US network operator SBC. Mr Hurd said China had the potential to develop enterprise data-warehousing systems that could dwarf that. Teradata chief technology officer Stephen Brobst said the company specialised in 'active' data-warehousing systems, which allow front-line employees such as shipping clerks, customer service representatives and airline gate agents access to customer information for quick decisions or customised offers. That technology also cleanses all captured information to correct differences and inaccuracies between data sources and data models. It then formats the data for analytical customer relationship management, data mining and other business intelligence processes so enterprise users can analyse data to understand customer preferences, create profiles and predict behaviour. According to Gartner, the amount of customer data available to an average company will reach 124 terabytes by 2004. Demand for data-warehousing technologies is expected to be intense in China's financial-services, telecommunications, retail and transport sectors. Early this year, Teradata signed a landmark deal to build the first enterprise data-warehouse system for the mainland's financial-services industry. China Construction Bank, the country's third-largest state-owned bank, will invest more than US$20 million in its data-warehousing project, to boost the banking sector's competitiveness against large foreign banks poised to enter the market. The contract is Teradata's biggest and third terabyte-range mainland data-warehousing project. The first phase of the Construction Bank data-warehousing project will centralise the bank's data across all business functions and branches. This system will also be developed to support related business intelligence applications such as customer relationship management and the analysis of customer profitability. Operations of the Construction Bank span the mainland, Hong Kong, London, New York, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Singapore and Seoul. Based in Beijing, it is the world's 53rd-largest commercial bank, with revenues of US$12.62 billion last year. Mr Hurd said data-warehousing systems gave companies a competitive advantage and this technology would be a requirement for all companies within five years if they were to survive in the global market. 'Companies [in China] will be clear in their goal of having a deep, integrated enterprise view of strategic information - from specific back-end functions such as supply-chain management to front-end operations such as marketing and sales,' Mr Hurd said.