Proactive Technology Holdings plans to launch a product this year to connect Internet protocol (IP) applications and telephone networks. General manager Vincent Tsang said the softswitch technology would enable users to run multiple IP-based applications while making telephone calls. 'While many people now use separate networks for Internet access, phone calls and fax, the softswitch technology and broadband infrastructure will allow these applications to be run on just one line,' he said. Proactive is conducting in-house trials for the product, which is expected to come on to the market at the end of the year. The Growth Enterprise Market listed company had invested more than HK$3 million on the new technology, Mr Lai said. 'We believe that, in the next few years, there will be a huge demand for the softswitch technology, not only in Hong Kong but also in the rest of the region. 'Because of the wide scope of applications that can be built on the technology, it will fare very well as broadband networks become more common.' Proactive, set up in 1992, concentrates on servicing telecommunications network providers and enterprise customers. Last year, 82 per cent of its turnover came from Hong Kong, with the rest generated by Taiwan, Singapore and Australia. Mr Lai said a slowdown in the local telecommunications industry at the end of last year had prompted the company to focus on value-added services for key players. 'Since the slowdown, major service providers have been competing on niche applications and we've been integrating our technology with theirs,' he said. Proactive plans to establish a foothold in the mainland as the telecoms sector is set to become more liberalised. It recently signed a memorandum of understanding to develop and market computer telephony solutions in China with Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 'We also plan to develop middleware solutions which mainland companies could use to develop their own telephony products,' Mr Lai said.