SHANGHAI'S East Asia Videotex Company plans to expand its services to promote the popularity of its computer terminals. Chen Qinjiong, senior engineer of Shanghai Posts and Telecommunications Administration's (SPTA) science and technology department, said the company was undertaking a customer survey before the launch of more diversified services. Shanghai was the first Chinese city to launch Videotex in 1992, providing the public with services including the city's telephone yellow pages directory, train and airline time schedules and airline departure and arrival timetables. Videotex also provides information on stocks and foreign currency exchange rates. The company, coming under the SPTA, has installed more than 1,000 terminals with its customers mainly in banks, stock exchanges and hotels. Mr Chen wants Videotex to become more popular but he said expansion of the service was restricted by its limited scope of information and the high cost of installation and service fees. The installation of a terminal costs 4,800 yuan (about HK$4,473), with a monthly charge of 200 yuan. In addition, as the terminal is connected to telephone lines, customers have to buy and install a telephone, which costs about 3,700 yuan in Shanghai, before they can use the Videotex services. Mr Chen said the company was mulling over the possibility of lowering the monthly charge in a bid to attract more customers. The reduction is likely to cast some pressure on East Asia Videotex which posted losses last year. 'We are in the investment stage,' Mr Chen said. He said the company would focus on technology development in order to move in tandem with the development of multi-media. It also planned to develop English information for foreigners, tourists and companies, as most of its information was in Chinese. Shanghai's Videotex services can now only provide visual data, including graphics, but the company hopes to be able to provide voice services in the future. Mr Chen expected that target could be achieved next year. Videotex services are available in Shenzhen and Nanjing and are operated by telecommunications authorities in those areas. Mr Chen said it was highly likely that Videotex services in each city would be connected in the future, enabling the operators to share the data bank and users to have access to the information.