Adobe Systems and Beijing-based Capinfo this week announced they would begin working together to support the use of electronic signatures on documents sent in the capital. The arrangement calls for Adobe to work with Capinfo subsidiary Beijing Certificate Authority (BJCA) in developing its portable document format (PDF) file-sharing products in the mainland. The companies said: 'Based on Adobe's technical support, Capinfo will embed the PDF products with a digital certificate or digital signature plug-in developed by BJCA. Adobe will support BJCA's digital certificate in its products to enhance the security of online file transmissions.' Capinfo is listed on Hong Kong's Growth Enterprise Market and has several 'e-government' contracts under way in Beijing, including an electronic tendering system and an online tax system that would allow individuals and organisations to file taxes via the Internet. The Beijing municipal government owns 62 per cent of the company. BJCA is also the city's only approved body for issuing digital certificates, which help encrypt documents and provide verification of the sender's identity. Capinfo spokesman Julian Lee said no figures were available for the number of certificates issued so far by BJCA, one of many certificate authorities across the country. However, the China Financial Certification Authority, a group sponsored by the People's Bank of China and 11 other banks, has issued more than 30,000 certificates so far and plans to issue another 150,000 within the next five years. Mr Lee said most electronic certificate users in Beijing were government offices. Most observers expect Beijing to move quickly on using IT to update its systems for registering citizens and dispensing services to them, as well as in building up the telecommunications infrastructure in preparation for the 2008 Olympics, which will be hosted in the city. Shanghai has its own certificate authority and a number of disparate projects also exist in China. Regionally, many countries, as well as the Hong Kong government, have moved to give digitally signed documents the same legal status as paper documents. However, negotiations are still under way on resolving legal and technical issues to make sure the digital signatures can be recognised from one certificate authority to another, and from one country to another. Adobe's Acrobat PDF software supports 19 languages, including simplified and traditional Chinese. The company had earlier this year threatened to stop Chinese-language support because of widespread software piracy, but has not followed through on that threat.