For storage system providers, it is a tale of two markets. Customers in the United States are installing new systems to comply with rules required under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Their Asian counterparts, meanwhile, are primarily concerned with the need to drive costs down and reduce the complexity of their present systems. But this could change, especially for Asian companies with global ambitions. Corporations seeking to do business in the United States - and tap into the country's capital markets - will need to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley as well. 'To the extent that Asian companies have major US operations, they will have to deal with the US regulatory environment,' said John Thompson, the chief executive of Symantec. Symantec agreed last December to a merger with Veritas, a provider of storage software. 'I don't know any major Asia companies whose aspirations are only in the region,' Mr Thompson said. 'As long as you have global aspiration, you are going to bump into the regulatory issues associated with the global economy. 'So to assume you can shield yourself from regulation because you live and work in Asia is a naive view of how the world economy really operates.' The US penchant for lawsuits is proving to be a boon to storage systems providers. Jeff Hausman, director for product marketing for automation products at Veritas, said: 'The US being a litigious society, companies need to exploit archived content for compliance and legal protection. It is a form of risk management.' Nevertheless, the Asian and US markets for storage systems continue to differ in fundamental ways. For example, utility computing has yet to catch on in Asia, although the idea has long been under development. Just a few large companies are trying out the concept, with most taking a wait-and-see approach. Veritas chief technical officer Mark Bergman said: 'It is a long term, evolving process. The technology will take another five years to mature. It works for storage at the moment, but not very well for servers.' The two companies also said their merger would not result in massive layoffs in Asia. Steven Leonard, the present head of Veritas in Asia, will lead the combined company in the region. Meanwhile, Symantec's Asia chief, Vince Steckler, will return to the US. Mr Thompson, who will be the new chief executive, said the tie-up would create opportunities for their operations in Asia. 'We now have a critical mass not just in sales and support but engineering and development capability as well,' he said. Symantec has small R&D teams in China and Japan that do localisation work, while Veritas has a team in China that does both localisation and engineering projects. By pooling resources, the combined company could better address issues unique to the region, such as language and security needs, Mr Thompson said.