Hand-held computer maker Palm has declined to comment on reports that it will open a China headquarters in Shanghai to target mainland manufacturers. Palm on Tuesday issued a general statement attributed to Todd Bradley, president and chief operating officer for the company's solutions group. The statement did not address the issue of a Shanghai office or mainland manufacturing. 'We're currently reviewing various strategies and business models for entering the China market. With a population of one billion people, the China market offers tremendous growth potential for any technology vendor, including hand-held players,'' the statement said. Palm, the dominant player in the hand-held market, at present oversees its small mainland business from Hong Kong. However, the company has put new efforts into the China hand-held market. The company is also splitting its Palm-branded hand-held manufacturing business from its operating system business, which licenses software to competitors such as Sony and Handspring. The restructuring plan includes a possible listing of the PalmSource unit and the promotion of Mr Bradley later this year to president and chief executive ofthe hardware business that remains in Palm after the spin-off. On the software side, AsiaPacific licence manager Dominique Tu said that the company had not developed more specific plans since the PalmSource chief executive David Nagel visited the region last month. He said PalmSource was in talks with Chinese manufacturers but had no concrete plans to announce. On the reports of Palm offices soon to be opened in Shanghai, Mr Tu said: ''For PalmSource we have no immediate plans, but for Palm, Inc, I don't know. Definitely as David Nagel mentioned, there is a plan for added presence.'' In Hong Kong, PalmSource and Palm already operate from separate offices and China market entry will be pursued separately by each unit. Palm hand-helds are available in the mainland market, though domestic brands are more popular. Most Chinese manufacturers use proprietary operating systems. Third-party software, such as the programs that developers sell to users of Palm or Microsoft hand-held OS products, does not exist as a separate industry in China. Licensing to Chinese manufacturers would boost Palm's presence and possibly lay the groundwork for a third-party software industry. ''We have very good progress with various parties,'' Mr Tu said of licensing efforts.