IN a bid to take advantage of Asia's burgeoning compact disc read-only memory (CD-ROM) and multimedia markets, a regional joint-venture company has been set up in Hongkong. Services will include adaptation of print products to CD-ROM and other electronic formats, interactive media product design, and consulting. The firm, Multimedia Asia, will provide multimedia services to publishers, industry, and governments in Asia. Target markets include both English and Asia language publishers. Primary investors in the company include Hongkong-based Asia CD, one of Asia's largest distributors of CD-ROM and interactive media products, and Eric Gerritsen, the managing director of the joint venture. ''The network of companies, of which Multimedia Asia is a part, offers the most thorough range of multimedia services and functionality available in Asia,'' said Mr Gerritsen. ''[The firm] has been formed to take advantage of the growth of CD-ROM markets, as well as opportunities presented by the collision of the telecom, entertainment, publishing, and computer industries in a digital world.'' Michael Morrow, managing director of Asia CD, said: ''This company will definitely be an asset to our activities in pioneering the exciting new markets for interactive media in Asia.'' By 1996, the worldwide installed base of CD-ROM players is predicted to grow to 17 million, up from about five million today, according to leading market researchers. One CD-ROM disc, which is the same size as the popular audio CD, can store up to 500,000 pages of text, 30 minutes of video, and three hours of digital music. Already, many publications, including Newsweek, The Economist and Time , and a wide range of business-to-business publications, are available on CD-ROM. By the end of the year, CD-ROM will be available on more than 5,000 different titles with education, business, entertainment, and industrial information content.