ONE of Hongkong's largest computing services companies, CSSL Holdings, has signed a regional software distributorship for integrated financial and distribution software from IBS. IBS, a Swedish company, claims to be the world's biggest mover of IBM's mid-range AS/400 machines. Some of the 700 AS/400s sold last year by IBS are being installed in Asia, as IBS's big European clients expand into the region. ''It is now time to form this partnership with CSSL, because there is big demand from our Swedish and European clients who have Asian subsidiaries that need services and equipment,'' said Mr Tomas Lindblom, IBS international sales manager. ''This need is increased because we are also seeing a European trend where head offices want a firmer grip on computer equipment, and would like to standardise it across their subsidiaries,'' Mr Lindblom said. To date, IBS has six clients in CSSL's new distributorship. The distributorship does not include Japan. There is one local Hongkong and one local Singaporean company, and four sites for an existing client - the huge Swiss-owned trading company Cosa Liehermann - in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Hongkong. For CSSL, the agreement will open opportunities for business with multinational companies that need the international features of IBS software. CSSL's other distribution software is manufacturing-orientated and slightly overlaps with the IBS product. The distributorship will not only feed off business moving into the region from other parts of the world. CSSL services more than 35 per cent of the 850 AS/400 machines in Hongkong and is therefore in a similiar position in the region as IBS is in Europe. Wholesale and trading businesses are at the heart of IBS financial and distribution software. The IBS software runs on the range of AS/400 machines and is, therefore, suitable for companies with a large head office and a network of smaller offices. The IBS Applications Software (AWS) comprises three blocks: ASW-FIN, ASW-DIS and Graph-in-the-Box/400. ASW-FIN is a general administration and accounting packaging covering financial reporting, general ledger, consolidation, forecasts, reporting payment planning, credit and currency control, and security. The distribution package, ASW-DIS, includes quotations, sales orders, invoicing, cash sales, purchase orders, stock transfer, control and stock-taking, and statistics and budgeting. Graph-in-a-box/400 is an information package for executives, which offers fast data capture, manipulation and formatting into charts, with three-dimensional effects and output options including transparencies for presentations. CSSL's two new China offices were not necessary essential to winning the distributorship. Mr Lindblom said IBS had to get into China market because its clients and competition were going there. He said he was not concerned about protecting IBS software's against intellectual property theft because he said that in untrained hands it was very difficult to use. The company has no business plan for China as yet, but because the software is already translated into Japanese with double-byte characters, it can be easily translated into Chinese. The company will take a slow approach into the region. IBS has hired management consultancy, Price Waterhouse, for this market analysis and to research any legal requirements. CSSL, like all IBS agents or joint-venture partners, is an IBM agent. IBS which also has 100 per cent-owned subsidiaries has representation 60 cities in 20 countries. IBS - which usually bundles its software with the hardware,- clients include Colgate Palmolive, Electrolux, Sandvik, Volvo and General Electric.