Serving as a regional headquarters for Asia-Pacific, the new Chase Manhattan Tower epitomises the modern working place where the latest advances in technology can be operated in user-friendly surroundings. Financial Secretary Donald Tsang will cut the ribbon at a special ceremony today to mark the dedication of the tower. Five minutes' walk from the Sha Tin KCR station, the Chase Manhattan Corporation occupies eight floors of the tower, which was completed last year. The company has bought seven floors of the building and leases one. The building houses almost 1,000 operations from the region and Hong Kong. An 'intelligent' building, the structure features a fibre-optic backbone that connects all the floors, allowing for rapid transfer of data. Each workstation is connected to the Premise Distribution System (PDS) that provides four cables to the terminal, allowing each to be used for either a data or a voice connection. The additional cables provide for future connections to the system. About 6,400 cables, in all 320 kilometres, have been laid within the building to cater to any voice or data needs. The building has two separate digital telephone exchanges with fibre-optic interconnections. Chase has updated its mainframe computers and back-up system to increase data processing speed and allow for repairs without having to shut the system down. The entire operation is connected to the bank's main global processing hubs in New York and Bournemouth, England. The centres operate continuously, handling customer transactions for all lines of banking business. The Sha Tin facility processes 8,300 transactions a day for its global corporate customers and an average of 25,000 on the retail side. In all, Chase has invested about US$3.5 million in new technology for the building. Richard Mounce, Chase managing director for Hong Kong-China-Taiwan, said the new building was proof of the bank's commitment to the territory as well as a method of controlling costs. 'Our challenge was to look at ways in which we could lower our fixed cost of operation in Hong Kong and the move has allowed us to maintain our presence and commitment while at the same time significantly reducing our costs,' he said. A series of training rooms have been built on the 15th and 18th floors. The Learning Lab has study carrels, audio-visual equipment, self-learning programmes, books, magazines, videos and audio cassettes. The CareerVision Lab offers a variety of tools, resources and information to help employees manage their careers.