GUANGZHOU, China (ZWSOFT GPC 2015) — Truman Du, ZWSOFT's founder and CEO, made time to talk to TenLinks during his company's Global Partner Conference. The 43-year-old Truman (I am told it is okay to address him by his first name) is exceedingly polite and quite the gentleman. He apologizes for his English. I am compelled to mention that my grasp of Chinese is non-existent. But he has made a point of having English be the language in which GPC is conducted — part of his effort to "internationalize" ZWSOFT. He has confidently delivered a keynote speech.
Truman has visited the United States 15 times since 2005, mostly to see the Florida offices of former VX, which ZWSOFT acquired in 2010. He tells me that ZWCAD is now all about 3D. He also places a big emphasis on mobile devices, as ZWSOFT readies CAD Pockets, a mobile app.
"We want to be different," he says, echoing the theme of the GPC. "Not just a follower of AutoCAD."
Still, the interview is conducted in some parts with a translator. I am using questions that were previously submitted for approval.
When did you start ZWSOFT?
What is ZWSOFT’s market share in China?
We are #1, after AutoCAD.
Ahead of Gstar?
[pause] I am sure we are better than Gstar, he says, laughing.
Do you come up against Gstar when competing for sales?
Not so much.
Who is ZWSOFT's biggest competitor worldwide?
AutoCAD. We believe we are more cost-effective than AutoCAD1
[Ed. note: Autodesk sued ZWSOFT for copyright infringement but lost the case in Europe2 and seems to have given up which is seen as a David vs Goliath story inside ZWSOFT]
We don't consider BricsCAD a competitor. They are mostly in Europe. And Japan. But we are also strong in Japan.
What is the biggest challenge in increasing market share for ZWSOFT in U.S.?
The Chinese market and the American market are different. We are a Chinese company. To some degree, it can be hard to find a strategy for the U.S., but one way or another, we will find one. Actually, we have made some progress in the American market, but, compared to other markets, the progress is not so obvious. If we find the right orientation, the American market is limitless.
What about DraftSight?
We shouldn't confuse the number of downloads with the number of users. [Referring here to the 3 million users Dassault claims DraftSight has.] However, we are willing to study the strategy that DraftSight used. It may help us with the American market. But DraftSight can exist. AutoCAD can exist. We also can exist. We are most interested in DraftSight.
What is the size of ZWSOFT, the company? Revenue? Users? Employees?
ZWSOFT is a private company. Not public. It's not proper to tell the revenue. But we have 400 employees. We have 500,000 users around the world. We think the number of loyal and active customers is the best benchmark of the size of the company. That is a number we will increase.
Is ZWCAD technically as capable as AutoCAD?
It's hard to quantify. But if you have to have a number, I would say we have 90 percent of the capability of AutoCAD.
Does ZWCAD address the vertical markets? AEC? Mechanical?
Yes, we've already had architectural and mechanical versions for some time. Those are the big ones. Maybe that is not so well known in America. We also have a series of specialized applications available in China, such as for landscaping, toys, piping and more.
Does ZWCAD have an adequate third-party partner program?
There are over 154 third-party applications made for specialized needs.
Does ZWCAD support programming languages?
LISP, ARX, VBA and .NET.
How would you quantify the compatibility of your programming languages?
It varies by programming language. With LISP, we can get 90 percent compatibility, with .NET, 70-80 percent. However, customers use different amounts of the language, not the full amount of any language, so the compatibility varies by customer.
How does ZWCAD take advantage of cloud technologies?
We have a plan to use the cloud in the future and make our product even more lightweight.
Can one collaborate from within ZWCAD?
Not at this moment but we are considering it.
Does ZWCAD address 3D printing?
We have a simple version of ZW3D that does 3D printing [during conference, a simplified version of ZW3D was being used in schools to help students make toys].
- ZWSOFT - corporate website
- ZWCAD articles - reviews, articles about ZWCAD, collected by CADdigest.com
1. AutoCAD sells for thousands of dollars, ZWCAD sells for hundreds
2 . Dutch Court Dismisses Autodesk Copyright Suit Against ZWCAD, press release by ZWSOFT, Apr 10, 2014