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.

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