Unisys is moving to win more government outsourcing contracts in Greater China after boosting its credentials with the Hong Kong Government's first IT services outsourcing deal. Outsourcing in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the mainland was expected to rise as authorities attempted to boost efficiency, Unisys officials said. 'We expect a number of government IT outsourcing projects to be open for competitive tender in Hong Kong this year,' said Daniel Leung, Unisys IT outsourcing business director for Hong Kong and China. He said Unisys recently completed the first phase of its five-year, US$11.28 million IT outsourcing project with Hong Kong's Judiciary, the first department-wide outsourcing contract from the SAR Government. The Judiciary's information-systems strategy calls for Unisys to develop applications including a public information display system, a public payment system using automated teller machines, and a pilot electronic filing project for Inland Revenue Department claims. Unisys also will provide support and maintenance for more than 20 existing Judiciary applications, which include case management for various courts, legal reference, office automation, jury management, bailiff assignment, interpreter deployment, the Judiciary's Internet home page, and voice recognition; as well as hardware and software maintenance for the computer network. W M Chu, assistant administrator for the Judiciary's quality division, said Unisys was on track with the development of new applications, as well as support and maintenance. He said: 'We are glad to see the deployment of resources in a quicker and more flexible way through outsourcing.' Mr Leung said Unisys was developing infrastructure requirements to cater to local governments across Greater China. Unisys said it already provided IT services and technology to all 50 state governments and more than 900 local governments in the United States. The company also claims its systems process 250 million annual income tax returns worldwide. 'Outsourcing has become more popular as it is not just a way to reduce cost but also an essential element to achieve business excellence, especially in today's economy,' said John Fishburn, Unisys Hong Kong general manager. Key global markets for Unisys include financial services, transport, communications, publishing and commercial sectors. Unisys is the world's ninth-largest IT services company and does business with 41 of the world's top 100 banks, more than 1,500 government agencies, 200 airlines, and 65 communications providers. Gartner has forecast the worldwide IT services market, which includes outsourcing, to reach US$603 billion this year, up 8.9 per cent over last year. It expected such spending in Hong Kong to grow into a US$2.6 billion market in 2005. 'Hong Kong remains a sophisticated market within the region, with a healthy outlook for IT services demand,' said Jacqueline Heng, senior analyst for Gartner IT services group in Asia-Pacific. Research firm International Data Corp, however, sees IBM continuing to dominate Asia-Pacific IT services. Mr Leung conceded that edge, saying Unisys did not focus on billion-dollar-plus 'mega-deals' for its outsourcing business and so did not compete with top players such as IBM and EDS for those deals. He said the company believed margins were lower for the mega-deals, and that large deals would consume a great deal of the company's resources, hampering work in other areas.