THE Founder Group Corp, which has a stake of between 60 and 70 per cent of the electronic publishing market in China, is also beginning to dominate Southeast Asia, vice-president Yao Xiuchen says. The Founder Group, which produces a range of software and hardware for systems ranging from publishing to finance, is due to be listed in Hong Kong. It is sponsored by Beijing University and has 30 fully-financed branch companies, four Sino-foreign joint ventures and three co-operative businesses. Most government departments and party organs, including central, local and media printing houses, used its systems, Mr Yao said. Its nearest rival, the Guang Hua System, has a 30 per cent market share, with the Stone company and others sharing 10 per cent. Although foreign firms had 80 to 90 per cent of the hardware market, they were hard pressed to penetrate the software market because of the language barrier, Mr Yao said. The Founder Group has 80 per cent of the Hong Kong publishing house market share and dominates Malaysia and Singapore, too. 'Taiwan will be the next potential market for exploration as its own development base for software is still weak,' Mr Yao said. 'The market penetration of other Asian countries like [South] Korea and Japan will be possible only with the co-operation of local agencies, because of the high level of protectionism in those countries.' Meanwhile, the Founder Group is involved in building a network transmission system for banks and financial institutions. Mr Yao said that software piracy was a problem that cost the Founder Group 70 million yuan (about HK$64.19 million) to 80 million yuan a year. 'It consumes more time and effort for the Industrial and Commercial Bureau to identify pirated technology than to identify fake wine or cigarettes,' Mr Yao said. 'We are willing to co-operate with it, but have limited manpower and resources to do so,' he said. The Founder Group's Chinese character processing card, with 50 per cent of the mainland market, is one of the main victims of piracy. The rest of the market is shared by Legend Computer and Giant. National sales this year are expected to be 20,000 units, worth 40 million yuan. 'Sales are expected to be level with last year's because the credit squeeze has cut consumption,' Mr Yao said. The Founder Group is diversifying with a 30 million yuan investment in scented ingredients used in soaps and detergents. The production target is 1,000 tonnes a year, half of which will be for export. Initial sales were expected to be worth between 60 and 70 million yuan a year and eventually top one billion yuan. Annual sales touched 900 million yuan last year and are expected to reach 1.8 billion yuan this year, Mr Yao said.