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Posted on Thu, Nov 12, 2009 : 7:05 a.m.

Ann Arbor's ProQuest expands by moving into Asian research markets

By Paula Gardner

Ann Arbor-based ProQuest will expand its Hong Kong office in early 2010, the first step in fulfilling what company officials describe as an untapped opportunity to add revenue from Asia.

The information IT company on Wednesday appointed a managing director to develop its East Asian strategy, which will include building its existing sales office into a regional sales and operational hub for the company.


Boe Horton

“There’s opportunity to grow substantially in that region,” said Elliott Forsyth, senior vice president.

The company already has a global presence, with 40 percent of its total revenue - an undisclosed amount - coming from outside of the U.S.

With the hiring of Boe Horton as managing director of the East Asian region, ProQuest will be able to tap into what Forsyth calls “the wealth of information there.”

The company sells information for anyone doing research. Clients include public libraries, academia, corporate libraries, governments and other entites that make research information available to specific audiences.

Most of that research tends to include information extracted from U.S. and European entities, Forsyth said.

But “there’s wonderful research going on (in Asia),” Forsyth said, and this move positions ProQuest to lead the way in packaging it for global markets.

“This is an opportunity to obtain content that’s locally generated (and) not typically being utilized by librarians or library patrons,” Forsyth said.

“The market is not fully tapped and has been underexposed,” Forsyth said. “We believe that within a very short period of time we could grow the market ten-fold.”

The region - including China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea - “is becoming a research and educaton powerhouse, with a growing population of students and researchers,” said Marty Kahn, ProQuest CEO in a statement.

Horton will relocate to Hong Kong from offices in Bethesda, Md., by Jan. 1

ProQuest employs 1,625, including 550 at its Ann Arbor headquarters, Forsyth said.