boratIBM keeps pushing into emerging markets in an effort to encourage startups and technology adoption around the world. Today, it is announcing it has opened a Linux innovation center in Kazakhstan, the nation made famous by Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedy movie, Borat.

IBM is betting that places like Kazakhstan will eventually see growth as vendors spread their wares around the globe and local businesses move onto the Internet. Linux is a perfect fit as far as encouraging low-cost technology in these areas. The center will be in Astana, Kazakhstan, the capital of the country.

The center’s mission is to drive the development and adoption of open standards and open source technologies in business and government organizations in Kazakhstan, the central Asian nation that spans territory larger than Western Europe. IBM recently launched a similar effort in Africa. Big Blue also has innovation centers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Bangalore, India; Moscow and other locations, such as the Cape Town, South Africa center, which opened last week.

Part of the continuing goal is to bridge the “digital divide” and fuel future economic growth. Inna Kuznetsova, vice president of systems software, marketing and sales enablement at IBM, says the center will support regional software vendors and IBM business partners as they localize their applications. It will develop prototypes of e-government services and work on e-learning solutions as well.

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