US$7.4m research venture

Kenneth Ko

HI-TECH electronics manufacturer Group Sense (International) is setting up a US$7.4 million joint venture research centre in Beijing for the development of new products.

The company is to invest US$3.7 million for its 50 per cent stake in the joint venture with a Beijing concern under the State Scientific and Technological Commission.

Mr Samson Tam, chairman of Group Sense, said the research centre would be operational in two months and it would initially engage about 50 engineers to develop new products.

Group Sense is now seeking a listing on the stock exchange, with Peregrine Capital as adviser.

Mr Tam said going public would raise funds for the company's expansion in research and development, production facilities and establishment of sales outlets in China. However, he offered no details of its listing plan.

His older brother Thomas, who is managing director of Group Sense, said the group had entered into an agreement with Beijing Star Co for a joint venture, which would set up assembly facilities in Shenzhen for production of electronic personal dictionaries.

The joint venture, involving an initial investment of US$1 million, was seeking approval to retain 30 per cent of finished products for sale in China, he said.

According to Mr Thomas Tam, it also has plans to set up sales outlets in eight major cities including Shanghai, Chengdu, Beijing, Wuhan, Shenyang, Shenzhen or Guangzhou.

He said it had earmarked HK$5 million for marketing and advertising in China for the coming year to promote the ''Instant-Dict'' electronic personal dictionaries.