Chinese Books Cyberstore (CBC), whose collapse last week highlighted concerns about the future of many Asian dotcom start-ups, may be resuscitated under a proposal announced by its biggest shareholder. ITVentures said yesterday it had submitted a HK$30 million-plus proposal to the provisional liquidator in an attempt to rescue the online book retailer. However the Hong Kong-based venture capital firm refused to disclose more details of its proposal. Billed as Hong Kong's answer to Amazon.com, the online retailer went into voluntary liquidation last week after two out of its 15 shareholders rejected a HK$27.5 million advance and restructuring proposal put by ITVentures on July 21. One of those shareholders was Nasdaq-listed Australian Internet company LibertyOne, which invested HK$100 million in CBC last September for a 25 per cent stake. The other, unidentified, shareholder owns less than 1 per cent. ITVentures, which holds 52 per cent, has offered in its proposal to re-employ all of the company's 96 employees. CBC, which claimed to be the biggest Chinese-language online bookseller, with more than 200,000 titles, has debts totalling HK$37.8 million, including a HK$4.8 million personal loan from ITVentures chairman Gabriel Yu. Mr Yu, who owns 90 per cent of ITVentures, said his proposal included an undertaking to immediately settle all outstanding debts in cash. He also promised that all creditors would be paid in full if they accepted the arrangement. 'By putting forward a proposal to revive the business operations of CBC at the first available moment, we are here to reiterate our commitment to remain a key player in this business,' he said. 'More importantly, we are sending a strong message to assure our business partners and creditors that we intend to honour our financial obligations and that ITVentures values the long-term relationship with them.' He confirmed that the decision to put CBC into provisional liquidation was sparked by a 'management deadlock' between ITVentures and LibertyOne after he had offered to buy the Australian group's stake on the condition that it paid out CBC's debts. He conceded that the online retailer had been mismanaged, particularly during the board's attempts to secure a listing on the Growth Enterprise Market in the first half of the year. 'At one point, we had HK$150 million cash in our pocket. But we made a serious mistake,' he said. 'Our operating costs were between HK$5 million and HK$6 million monthly. But at one point, the management spent HK$12 million to HK$13 million [trying to be listed],' said Mr Yu, who had not been involved in daily operations since last September. He said he regretted the repercussions the liquidation had sparked for Hong Kong's Internet industry but said he had tried his best to prevent CBC's collapse. 'Look, I have done a lot of things to get it back. If I did not have confidence and I was not a responsible person, I would have run away already,' he said.