Red chip Legend Holdings is expected to launch two projects to produce computer peripherals this year as part of its ambitious plan to more than double its sales to US$3 billion by 2000. Chairman Liu Chuanzhi said the company would focus on expanding its market and would start one to two new ventures producing computer peripherals this year. It would also strengthen research and development, especially in the software market. Mr Liu said the company would strive to gain a bigger market share for Legend brand computers, partly through the wider application of its software and user training. It planned to increase its number of user-training centres from more than 12 to more than 100 in cities in China by 2000. The training centres should start to break even by next year, Mr Liu said. He said the company aimed to double its computer production to about 800,000 units this year, which would need a lot of peripherals and parts. It would expand more into parts and peripherals manufacturing with leading foreign firms. Possible partners include Taiwan firms, some of which Mr Liu visited during a recent trip. He said China would need to beef up its research and development capabilities to prevent it from being a passive follower of international trends. Mr Liu said Legend would only conduct research and development in areas where the mainland would show a comparative advantage. For instance, the company would want to develop software for banks and security bureaus, for translating English into Chinese for Internet users and for using character strokes and voice-data input. Mr Liu dismissed concerns the company might overstretch its resources and bring too much risk by venturing into hi-tech areas. 'We will not put all our eggs in one basket,' he said. 'We will take our investments step-by-step because the external environment is changing too rapidly.' Mr Liu earlier said the group would invest up to HK$3 billion in expansion by 2000. He reiterated that the listed arm would invest in proven profitable businesses, while parent company, New Technology Developer, would take up relatively riskier investments, including the development of Windows-based operating system CE handheld computers. After the company completed a placement and subscription deal - launched last week to raise HK$300 million - New Technology's interest would be reduced to 66.3 per cent from 73.4 per cent. Mr Liu said there was still the possibility the parent would raise its stake through asset-for-share deals.