Taiwan firms vie for e-campus opportunities

Michelle Hsu, The China Post

The Taipei Computer Association (TCA) is organizing a Taiwan delegation to visit the 2002 International Education Exposition Fair to be held in Beijing in late September in a bid to help its member companies vie for business opportunities from the e-campus projects for nearly 700,000 schools in mainland China.

The delegation is currently composed of over 10 electronic book manufacturers and online learning software providers. They are reportedly planning to run a Taiwan pavilion in the Beijing education fair.

The education authority in the mainland is proposing to apply modern electronic devices and Internet to campuses of the primary and junior high schools. It’s estimated that the business opportunities resulted from such projects could worth as much as 200 billion renminbi given a 1.5 million renminbi budget for each school.

These projects are proposed by the central education authority in the mainland, aimed at providing a centralized standardized educational system for all the primary and junior high schools throughout the mainland.

The TCA revealed that major PC companies such as Acer, MiTAC, ASUSTek, First International Computer (FIC) all plan to enter this field by developing electronic reading devices, the so-called electronic books or ebooks. AUSUTek has reportedly appropriated a budget of 300 million renminbi for developing its business on this field. Initially, it’s planning to team up with a mainland-based software company for its ebook business. Choo Banfu, the inventor of the CangJie Method for typing Chinese characters into a computer, is also eager to promote the application of his ebooks in the mainland. In the Taipei International Computer Show (Computex Taipei) held in early June, Choo launched the latest model of his electronic book reader eBook4ALL featured with the unique CangJie Chinese typing method. His company, Cangjie Technology Co., teams up with several PC hardware makers in Taiwan and several publishing companies in the mainland to produce the eBook readers. His company revealed that it has received several orders for the eBook4All from buyers in the mainland.