With an eye on mobile phone production in China, French wireless communications gear maker Wavecom has opened its mainland operations in Beijing. Company officials said the new office at Zhongguancun, a sprawling Silicon Valley-type district to the northwest of Beijing, would cater to a growing number of client manufacturers based in the northern and central parts of the country. Wavecom Asia-Pacific managing director Jean-Charles Andreani said: 'Opening a representative office is the latest milestone in our continuing commitment to markets in Asia, and China in particular.' He said Wavecom had been working with manufacturers in the mainland since 1999 and that China was now the company's largest single market in the Asia-Pacific. Sales in the Asia-Pacific accounted for 87.2 per cent of the company's third-quarter revenues of 171 million euros (about HK$1.3 billion). Wavecom provides its Wireless Standard Module (Wismo) products to wireless systems makers. Wismo is a device that contains all the digital, baseband and radio frequency hardware and software needed to make wireless handsets over existing second-generation and new third-generation wireless networks. These modules are found in many of the local brand mobile phones sold in China. Wavecom said handset providers such as TCL and Soutec used Wismo to speed up product development cycles to get the latest products out to both the domestic and export markets. Wismo's other applications include car navigation systems and devices that enable communications between vending machines or utility meters and control centres. Despite the economic downturn, Wavecom officials expect China's wireless communications market to continue to grow. Technology consultancy Made for China Insight recently reported that mobile handset production in China would reach 232.8 million units in 2005, up from 80 million last year. By 2005, China is expected to be the source of up to one-third of all mobile phones sold annually worldwide. Nasdaq-listed Wavecom recently appointed Elcoteq to assemble and test Wismo products at its factory in the Beijing Economic Technological Development Area. Haibo Zhu, Wavecom's chief representative officer in China, said the company planned to increase its mainland staff from six to 30 within the next 12 months. Founded in 1993 and with headquarters at Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris, Wavecom has subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Seoul and San Diego, California. Company revenues totalled 322.7 million euros last year and 415.7 million euros in the nine months ended September 30.