Irish security software firm Baltimore Technologies plans to add two positions in its Hong Kong office and make the SAR the hub for its Greater China operations as part of its ongoing restructure. Chief executive Bijan Khezri said Baltimore had enjoyed success in the Hong Kong market, including a partnership with the post office to provide e-certification services. He said the company would use Hong Kong as a launching point into the rest of China. 'From Hong Kong we can drive business into the region,' he said. The additional jobs will come from Baltimore's present Asia-Pacific headquarters in Sydney, which will now deal only with Australia and New Zealand. The Hong Kong office now has five staff. Greg Leniston, Baltimore vice-president for North Asia, said the company would bid on the contract to provide an upgraded e-cert to Hongkong Post for use with the new smart identity card. 'We expect about two-thirds of the 6.5 million people who are issued cards to get the optional e-cert as well,' he said. Mr Leniston was optimistic that Baltimore would be able to use its existing relationship with Hongkong Post to get the new contract. The e-certs serve as a means of online identity authentication using public key infrastructure (PKI) technology, which ensures messages and documents are not tampered with or viewed during transit. Similar technology from Baltimore is used in Hong Kong by companies such as Jetco. The decision to expand in Hong Kong comes as Baltimore's future is uncertain. The collapse of the technology sector and the subsequent economic downturn has seen the company cut more than half its workforce during the past year. Baltimore employs 500 people, down from a high of 1,100. Mr Khezri said Baltimore was concentrating on its core products and was moving away from providing services such as content management in an effort to cut its losses. Despite the aggressive restructuring, the company has faced increased criticism and rumours of its impending demise after reporting a preliminary pre-tax loss for last year of GBP660 million (about HK$7.5 billion) on sales of GBP70.4 million. According to analysts, the company has enough cash to make it to the end of this year at its current rate of losses, leaving it out of money long before its projected break-even point in the second quarter of next year. In March, the company pushed the date of expected profitability back from its initial estimate of this summer. Mr Khezri rejected the sceptical assessments of Baltimore's prospects, saying analysts and media commentators had been wrong when they over-hyped the technology industry during the boom, and were still getting it wrong after the collapse by being too negative. 'We are very comfortable about the next 12 months,' he said.