The information technology consultancy CiF Solutions is widening the scope of its enterprise applications business in Asia, with an eye on new wireless and business-automation projects. CiF general manager Chris Chan said this expansion plan had received a big boost last week when the firm completed a merger with the IT unit of Hong Kong-listed NWS Holdings, formerly known as New World Services. With a staff of almost 100, CiF aimed to provide advanced enterprise IT management, Web design, portal development and mobile computing software applications to companies of all sizes across the region, Mr Chan said. 'We're looking forward to serving a huge market that expects us to deliver cost-effective IT applications and services that require little customisation.' Target sectors for CiF include financial services, manufacturing, communications and government departments - areas that research firm Gartner projects will make up 67 per cent of worldwide business IT spending this year. CiF was founded in 1986 as a Hong Kong-based supplier of customised hotel management software programs. It signed up more than 30 hotel operations in Asia to use its applications and has continued to support them. The firm was absorbed by NWS group in 1998 to become part of its core IT division. Management later decided to restructure CiF as a larger, separate business entity. The new entity started operations this year. Financial details of the restructuring were not provided. 'We've reinvented ourselves to seek out new business opportunities in Greater China and across the rest of Asia,' Mr Chan said. 'Our team now includes 80 technical experts who have plenty of experience in systems development and integration.' While it was part of NWS group, CiF built a client base of about 200 large and small companies and more than 10,000 direct users of its software applications. Major clients included Cathay Pacific Airways, HSBC, Orient Overseas Container Line, TVB, Star TV, Credit Suisse, Henderson Land Development and the Hong Kong Education Department. Mr Chan said CiF aimed to sharpen its focus on wireless enterprise applications this year, including projects that enable seamless and secure communications between several hundred mobile computer users. Current customers included Kowloon Dairy and British American Tobacco. Key technology partners for these projects included Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Sybase. CiF also last week unveiled an updated version of its flagship human resources management application, HumanCentric (HCS) 3.0. 'HCS is one of our most popular software products, and we are looking to introduce version 3.0 aggressively across difference vertical industries at a fraction of the price of similar enterprise applications,' Mr Chan said. In the decade since its launch, HCS has undergone continuous development and deployment in more than 50 Asia-based companies. In Hong Kong, HCS supports more than 40,000 payroll accounts, including those of customers New World Renaissance Hotel and Harbour Plaza Hotel Hong Kong.