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RealTime IT News

Gates Looks to Tap Chinese Market

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is on a two-day visit to China to drum up business is the world's single biggest market.

Gates is meeting with top government officials and several computer, telecommunications and banking executives. Gates is positioning Microsoft ahead of a planned restructuring of several key Chinese government ministries, including that which regulates the information technology industries.

Last year, Microsoft said it would invest $750 million in China over the next three years. Microsoft is looking to close several deals with the Chinese, and already has a deal with the Industrial Commercial Bank of China to create an encrypted security system for its evolving online banking business. The bank is expected to begin offering a new online banking system by July 2003, according to China's People's Daily.

Microsoft is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on Friday with China Unicom , China's second largest wireless carrier. Microsoft is aiming to get its next generation mobile software inside phones in China and markets worldwide. Microsoft and China Unicom are expected to co-develop software and data services for CDMA 1X technology, a new high speed variant, with Microsoft's Pocket PC Phone Edition.

China is also looking to boost the Chinese software industry, and to that end, it says it will spend $2.2 million to build a research laboratory in Beijing over the next five years.

Microsoft is looking to work with the leading Chinese personal computer maker: Legend Group. Back in September 2002, Microsoft inked a deal with Legend to co-develop tablet PC's and laptops with enhanced screen functions. Legend is also working with Microsoft on Internet mobile phones. The Tianji line of Net phones are being built around Microsoft's software.