Beijing-based software and systems integration company ChinaSoft International is looking to expand its operations in Hong Kong. Managing director Henry Chen Yu-hong said the firm was actively recruiting in the Hong Kong. 'We see Hong Kong as a window to the world,' he said. 'We have found a 2,000 square foot office near Central and we are looking for the people to help us build on our successes in China.' ChinaSoft has a strong presence in mainland government infrastructure projects, especially e-government. 'Our software handles the tax systems of more than 400 Chinese cities,' Mr Chen said. With about 300 employees and a yearly business of 1.3 billion yuan (about HK$1.22 billion) and growing, ChinaSoft appears to be doing well in the economic downturn. Mr Chen attributes much of the company's success to the Chinese government's support for technology, as well as being able to provide cheaper solutions than foreign competitors. With a large pool of talented but cheap labour at his disposal, Mr Chen believes ChinaSoft can do a lot more for companies and governments outside China. 'We believe the e-market has great potential. It is not just about a database or other technology. It is about putting it all together, including training,' he said. Mr Chen also realises the importance of marketing. 'We are trying to make government and industry aware of what we can do for them,' he said. ChinaSoft is involved in several initiatives to support the growth of technology in government and business. Projects have ranged from credit-card systems to the technology needed to run industrial parks. 'We have four Web-based portal solutions we use call e-Audit, e-Shield, e-Insurance and e-Park,' Mr Chen said. With Chinese businesses and government opening up after joining the World Trade Organisation, keeping better records has become a necessity. ChinaSoft's e-Audit was designed specifically to help keep track of records, which, Mr Chen said, was not always done in the past. 'It is essential for people to keep accurate records in order to do business in a fair way,' he said. The firm's e-Shield and e-Insurance products helped in security and insurance, but it was e-Park that generated the most income and interest, he said. The tenants of China's large industrial parks had many infrastructure needs and the e-Park software was particularly suited for that. 'The city of Tianjin generates about US$10 billion in infrastructure and procurement business each year. This year it will increase by about 25 per cent,' he said. ChinaSoft clients include the Beijing Development Office and the city of Harbin. The company recently released ResourceOne, a showcase platform for much of its work. The system is written in Java and is accessed through a Web browser. In coming to Hong Kong, Mr Chen said he hoped the company could expand its business to include an international market. Mr Chen was one of the first people to turn Unix into a Chinese-capable operating system when he wrote Cyberwise, a system that allowed double-byte Chinese characters to be used with the X Window system on Unix workstations. He sold 50,000 copies of the software, but there was not much room for growth. The foreign market is important for the company. 'We are interested eventually in doing offshore work for foreign companies. We could even be considered for research and development for foreign companies, if they were interested,' he said. Mr Chen is aware it will take time, but he sees Hong Kong as a 'real portal' - as opposed to a virtual one - to the outside world.