Growth Enterprise Market-listed Thiz Technology has tapped into the mainland's Linux-based set-top box software market by lining up two Greater China partners. The software developer, which specialises in Linux solutions, has formed an alliance with Taiwan-based set-top box provider Well Communication and China-based broadband network developer Shenzhen Fenghua Telecom. Well Communication will embed the first Chinese Linux-based set-top box software, which is provided by Thiz in its DVD set-box products. The products will be distributed under the Thiz brand through Fenghua's sales network, which has more than 20 outlets in China. The key factor drawing the three together is the low cost of Linux technology. 'After using Linux operating software, our set-top box can be competitively priced, thus increasing its popularity,' said Well Communication vice-chairman Gary Wang. Linux is an open-source operating system, which means anyone can have access to - and modify - the source code at no cost. As a result, Linux-based software is much cheaper than rival proprietary software such as Microsoft's Windows. Thiz chairman Albert Li Sze-tang said the average price of his company's Linux-based set-box software was about 20 per cent of Microsoft's. He said there were no competitors providing similar technology in China. Set-top box products, which allow users to access the Internet with a television set, are estimated to have huge potential in China because television users greatly outnumber personal computer users. A recent study by Strategic Research found the Linux operating system would erode Windows' dominant market share in Greater China in the next three years.