Founder Group, China's fourth-ranked domestic personal computer (PC) brand, plans to open at least 30 mainland outlets this year. Information and technology analyst New Century Group said Founder, which next month will introduce its first Pentium PC using Intel Semiconductor's new MMX (multimedia extension) technology, had opened its first specialty store in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, and planned five or six stores in Beijing by the middle of next month. It said Founder would not sell PCs from US companies Hewlett-Packard, Unisys or Digital Equipment Corp in the new chain. Last year, it sold 30,000 own-brand PCs through its resale and distribution network, which also sold products made by the US companies. In the same period, it trailed Legend, Great Wall and Tontru in domestic sales - Founder's first year of marketing own-brand PC systems. A growth rate of 60 per cent is expected this year in a market of 2.7 million PCs. Founder is one of the main targets this year for microprocessor developer Cyrix, which has developed a low-cost computer chip to reduce the cost of computer assembly. The world's leading PC maker, Compaq, which analysts say is level with IBM, AST and Hewlett-Packard in the China PC market, has agreed to use the Cyrix Media GX processor in its home computers worldwide. They will sell for less than US$1,000. Cyrix Asia-Pacific vice-president Everett Roach said the low-cost option was attractive to many computer buyers, especially in price-sensitive markets such as China. 'We have evaluation systems being tested by the top three local makers in China,' Mr Roach said. He said the new chip did not sacrifice system performance despite cutting costs. The Media GX chip includes functions such as graphics acceleration and audio control on the microprocessor, which means a system designer does not have to include separate sound or graphics cards. Media GX has been adopted by Taiwanese and South Korean PC and motherboard assemblers such as Tatung, First International Computers, Elite Computing Systems, Daewoo, LG Electronics and Trigem.