Singapore-based TrustAsia is to use Hong Kong as its base for developing online payment technology and wireless domain-name services. The company's acquisition of an online payments company and the opening of an office in Hong Kong this week are part of its US$10 million expansion into a number of markets in Asia. In addition to the Hong Kong office, TrustAsia has set up a North Asian headquarters in Shanghai. Chief executive Seth Jutan said the company saw potential in offering online payment technology to banks and export companies in Hong Kong and the mainland. He added that because of the high penetration of mobile subscriptions in Hong Kong, it was a good market for mobile domain-name registration, a service the company planned to introduce later in conjunction with United States-based market leader Verisign. Earlier this year, TrustAsia bought a Hong Kong company, CyberCash Merchant Services (CCMS), and already had a staff of six in the SAR because of that acquisition. Mr Jutan said CCMS had few customers at the time it was bought. 'We really acquired [the staff] for their management,' he said. The acquisition related to online payment was Singapore-based VCheq, which had a number of agreements already signed, half of them with Hong Kong-based banks, Mr Jutan said. VCheq had spent about two years developing technologies and services for settlement of payments and insuring credit risk involved in overseas trade. Mr Jutan said TrustAsia was in the midst of another round of fund-raising to increase its product services in each of its locations. Services planned for Hong Kong include public key infrastructure services for certifying and encrypting Web transactions and wireless domain-name services. Mr Jutan said Hong Kong's 5.6 million mobile-phone subscriptions gave the city one of the highest mobile-phone densities in the world. He said there was a potential market for wireless products. Although the service was not yet available in Hong Kong, a number of overseas companies had taken wireless domain-name registrations. TrustAsia plans to license technology related to creating numerical domain names to Verisign, which has introduced these services in Japan and South Korea. 'We are in the final stages of the contract with Verisign and that agreement is part of the reason we are opening the office here in Hong Kong,' Mr Jutan said.