Canadian-based CBL Data Recovery Technologies is poised to make inroads into the business of recovering data from fried hard drives in China with the help of Legend, the mainland's largest personal-computer maker. CBL, a private company co-founded by Bill Margeson and Zhengong Chang, participated in last week's Canadian trade mission to China that was headed by Canada's Prime Minister Jean Chretien and took senior politicians and more than 300 business executives on a nine-day journey through Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong to meet contacts and tighten trade ties. CBL was part of the mission. 'The main focus has been trying to increase the profile of our Beijing office,' said Tim Margeson, who co-ordinates data-recovery projects. An added bonus is the potential for more work through Legend, which sells about 40 per cent of China's personal computers. Legend suggested it would refer its clients with hard-drive problems and lost data to Toronto-based CBL. 'They want to start talking about doing some kind of partnership or some kind of referral service,' said Tim Margeson. 'If something like that comes into place, that will be an ongoing relationship for many years.' He said the deal would take a few months to finalise. CBL, with 40 employees, already has laboratories and offices in Toronto, Beijing, Singapore, Brazil, Germany, Spain and Britain. The company was formed in 1993 when Bill Margeson and Mr Chang, a computer specialist who moved to Canada from China more than 20 years ago, got together. Its clients range from Fortune 500 companies to students. The company had several million dollars worth of sales in 1999, and is much smaller than US-based rival Ontrack Data International. Nasdaq-listed Ontrack said in February that total revenues last year grew 22 per cent to US$52.9 million, up from US$43.4 million in 1999. Tim Margeson, who at 24 was one of the younger entrepreneurs on the trip, said the networking was a lot of work. He estimated that he spoke to about 100 people in one afternoon in Hong Kong.