Citic Pacific is in talks to acquire Internet protocol (IP) equipment from United States-based networking company Cisco Systems for use in its 32,000-kilometre optic-fibre network in the mainland, according to chairman Larry Yung Chi-kin. Speaking after the company's annual general meeting, Mr Yung said negotiations were in the final stage. Citic managing director Henry Fan Hung-ling, meanwhile, said Citic could discuss with Lucent supply of asynchronous transfer mode technology. Those infrastructures will enable Citic to provide broadband services on its national backbone network. In January, Citic Pacific announced the acquisition of a 60 per cent interest in the fibre-optic network, which will cover 23 provinces and municipalities and more than 200 cities. Mr Yung said the network would be operational in some cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, by September. The company was also expanding into Internet business with a plan to launch a food-related portal in the mainland, he said. There had been rumours that Citic Pacific would team up with mainland-backed conglomerate China Resources (Holdings) to develop mainland Internet business. Mr Yung said the company had not had any talks with China Resources, but he did not rule out possibilities in future. The company was awaiting Beijing's approval for the proposed purchase of a 50 per cent stake in Citic Guoan from its parent, China International Trust & Investment Corp. Citic Guoan holds about 8 per cent in China Unicom and has interests in cable-television networks in Beijing, Wuhan, Shenyang and Chengdu.