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RealTime IT News

Chinese Official Info Available On Web In Taiwan

A Hong Kong company, Asia Information Resources Ltd. (AIR), will be the first to offer Taiwanese Internet users subscription access to official information about mainland China.

AIR, specializing in online database services that contain legal, business, and financial information, recently closed a deal with Taiwan's government-owned Chung-Hwa Telecom to provide its Internet customers with online access to databases containing official data.

The government telecom controls HiNet, Taiwan's largest ISP with 800,000 to 900,000 dial-up accounts.

"We are the only company that can provide Taiwan users with access to official mainland Chinese information," said C. M. Chan, AIR's managing director.

AIR's deal with Chung-Hwa is quite significant since Beijing has never been comfortable with dissemination of official data to any country let alone to Taiwan, which it still considers a renegade province.

Some of AIR's database material comes directly from Office of Legislative Affairs of China's State Council.

Nevertheless, with a high profile in China, the Hong Kong company was given official permission from Beijing to close the deal in Taiwan, according to Chan.

In Hong Kong, AIR has already been offering similar services through Netvigator, Hongkong Telecom's Internet service.

"We are also negotiating with partners in China to distribute Taiwanese data into China via the Internet," commented Chan.

AIR has plans to introduce similar Chinese information database services to the world wide market and claims to have developed the first database engine on the Internet to support full-text search and retrieval of both Chinese and English data.

According to Chan and AIR's executive director, Jo Jo Tam, the firm has received several buyout offers due to the comprehensive nature of its databases.

Moreover, AIR has developed other business in the system integration, web design, and project management fields.

The company helped setup and manages what is allegedly the only ISP in China to earn money, the Dongguan Network.

The IT firm is also building an online teaching community for Hong Kong schools and consulting the Asian Development Bank on various Internet related projects.