Microsoft's Forbidden City launch of its simplified Chinese version of Windows 95 means the software is now available for all double-byte languages. Last week's launch in Beijing of the Windows 95 operating system and its Office 95 suite of products came shortly after Microsoft announced the traditional Chinese version of the software for Hong Kong and Taiwan. At the same time, Microsoft donated the products to the Forbidden City for its use. Windows 95 is now available for all double-byte languages, including Japanese, Korean, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese. A Microsoft spokesman said they were happy with the release of the software so quickly after the traditional Chinese version. 'We are thrilled that Windows 95 is now available in China,' a spokesman said. 'Windows 95 is now available in 28 languages.' Microsoft has been working with local partners and software developers in China to speed up the development of the new operating system. Nearly 100,000 hours of staff time was devoted to the localisation project. 'One of the most satisfying achievements about this is that we have worked so closely with local partners and government officials,' the spokesman said. Microsoft worked with local developers and companies such as the large computer maker, Great Wall and with some universities in China. As with the American release of Windows 95, Microsoft was keen for feedback from customers. Although most written Chinese has common characters, those used in Hong Kong and Taiwan are older ones developed over the centuries. In China, a simplified system is in use that was created about 40 years ago, which is also used in Singapore. One difficulty in entering Chinese is that the pronunciation of the characters depends on the dialect of the speaker. In China, children all learn Mandarin and can input characters using the pinyin form of romanisation. In Hong Kong, however, the lack of knowledge of Mandarin means that users usually have to use a different system, such as cangjie, which is based on the character's shape. Leaders from the Ministry of Electronics Industry, the State Technology Supervision Administration, the State Language Work Committee and the State Copyright Administration, attended the launch and the donation ceremony. The Director of the Department of Computer Information and Advancement, Ministry of Electronics Industry, Yang Tianxing, said: 'These two software products [Windows 95 and Office 95 Chinese] represent the latest technology in China and they surely will play an important role in upgrading and modernising China's computing industry. 'I hope that Microsoft will continue to co-operate with Chinese computing industry technicians in the future development of software technology.'