Latest figures released by the TDC's Trade Enquiry Service reveal massive jumps in requests for information from two main areas - China and eastern Europe. Most other global markets notched up only marginal increases in trade enquiries, regarded as a key indicator to the initiation of new business transactions. China, however, recorded a 42.5 per cent increase from January to June this year over the same period last year. Enquiries jumped from 12,474 to 17,773 in the two periods. Eastern Europe recorded a 45.7 per cent increase. By contrast, the traditional market of North America recorded a surprising decrease of 5.9 per cent, dropping from 17,430 last year to 16,395 from January to June this year. Locally, enquiries increased by 8.7 per cent - 119,671 up to June compared with 110,072 last year. Taiwan recorded the third largest increase at 24.6 per cent, although actual numbers were less significant with enquiries at 1,246 compared with 1,000 in 1995. Interest from western Europe remained stable, with a 5.5 per cent increase in enquiries from 30,137 to 31,806. The number of Central and South Americans inquiring about Hong Kong trade rose by 7.9 per cent, from 6,222 to 6,715 over the two corresponding half year periods. In Australia, interest also remained strong, with an 8.6 per cent increase in enquiries, from 3,579 to 3,887 over the two periods. Enquiries from Japan were almost flat at 1.6 per cent, from 5,450 up to 5,536. In the Middle East, enquiries waned considerably, down 7.5 per cent at 2,837 from 3,067 in the first half of 1995. On average, total global enquiries increased by 9.7 per cent.