Executives at Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW) are placing great store in the mainland's telecommunications and technology markets, which they believe have high-growth potential in the years ahead. The telecom and Internet company, controlled by Richard Li Tzar-kai, employs more than 1,000 staff in China. Adam Sin Kit, CyberWorks director of business development in China, said he expected that number to rise to 1,500 by the end of this year. China was expected to account for about 10 per cent of the group's projected turnover of HK$20 billion last year. CyberWorks has ventured into various mainland telecom businesses, such as systems integration, the operation of call centres and the provision of telephone directory and directory-inquiry services. Chief operating officer William Cheung Kam-hung said: 'China will become a significant revenue source for PCCW. I would not be surprised if half of our revenue came from China within five years.' Mr Cheung said expenditure on information technology and telecommunications now accounted for about 4.5 per cent of China's gross domestic product. Technology spending growth would continue after China's entry into the World Trade Organisation, he said. Although WTO membership obligates China gradually to open its telecom market, foreign telecom operators are at present restricted to providing value-added telecom services. Mr Cheung said CyberWorks' information technology and telecom strategy was eventually to provide connectivity services to the mainland to its multinational clients. CyberWorks was hoping to offer its call centre, systems integration and software maintenance services in the mainland to its existing clients in a bid to diversify its revenue base away from Hong Kong. Most of CyberWorks' revenue in China at present is derived from the provision of connectivity services. However, Mr Cheung expected a greater contribution would soon be made by the company's systems integration business, which provides project-based software applications, enterprises resources planning and outsourcing services. CyberWorks has big hopes for its business-to-business activities, particularly the development of total network and systems solutions in the mainland. The company wants to install customer-relationship manager software, manage the data and sell the bandwidth. CyberWorks is already thought to have secured HK$400 million worth of systems integration contracts from state-owned enterprises China Mobile Communications and China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec). However, the company faces fierce competition from long-established United States companies, such as networking giant Cisco Systems, which are rooted in the computer industry rather than in the analogue-based telecom world.