Tom Group's new chief operation officer says he plans to focus on expanding its publishing unit's distribution business. Shanghai-based Ekkehard Rathgeber, who was also appointed chief executive of Tom's China publishing business and senior vice-president of Tom Publishing Group last week, said he was looking at some 'sizeable' distribution projects on the mainland. 'We are not interested in small and little operations,' he said. 'We are not interested in projects which are purely financial investments. We want to have a management say in the operation of the business.' The appointment of Mr Rathgeber, former president of Bertelsmann Direct Group Asia, is seen as evidence of Tom's ambition to build a significant presence in the mainland publishing market. More than 80 per cent of its publishing revenue comes from Taiwan, but Mr Rathgeber hopes to see the mainland contribute 50 per cent in 15 years. Foreign firms are trying to make inroads in China before December 1, when its retail book market will be fully opened to competition.