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Anyone for double-byte Ping-Pong?



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In 1971, Jack Howard, an IBM programmer, led the first American delegation to Beijing since the Chinese Revolution in 1949. Diplomat? No; Howard was the captain of the United States Men's Table Tennis team. What became known as ”Ping-Pong diplomacy” spawned much more than cultural exchanges; it was one small step in the process of trade globalization.

Fast-forward to the development of IBM i and we find the beginnings of another wave of globalization in the growing IT industry. IBM i was designed with a strong international focus, supporting more than 50 national language versions. It had breakthrough technology to address the challenges of the double byte character set (DBCS) encoding needed to support Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters and symbols.

Currently, IBM i development is shared between the Rochester, Minn., and Beijing development labs, and IBM i is used widely in China, especially in the banking sector. And today, of course, it’s much easier to arrange a Ping-Pong match between IBMers in Rochester and Beijing.

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