For developers wanting to make a living creating websites for PDAs and mobile phones, Hong Kong is not a good place to be, according to industry experts. The place to be is the mainland. A few years ago, Hong Kong was caught up in the wireless application protocol (WAP) excitement that had nearly everybody looking to create webpages that could run on the protocol. Dwayne Serjeant, an independent designer in Hong Kong, has worked for major web development companies and has been involved in the business from the beginning. He is sceptical about designing specifically for the small screen in Hong Kong. 'The biggest problem with small screens - and by that I mean PDAs as well as mobile phones - is the user experience is simply not compelling, particularly if you are accustomed to using a notebook computer. 'I tried doing a search on Yahoo! with my WAP-enabled phone a few years ago and Yahoo Search took up two lines of the small screen. Add to that the less than lightning-fast response time and you have a lot of frustrated users. 'This surely must have something to do with the fact that you no longer hear much about WAP.' That might be true for Hong Kong, but the mainland seems to be doing well, said Arthur Chu, director of professional services and product support for OpenWave Greater China. OpenWave invented WAP. Contrary to what many in Hong Kong believe, WAP is alive and kicking - on the mainland. 'We see a lot of traction in China, especially for China Unicom. Their download activity is tremendous. China Unicom is a CDMA [code division multiple access] carrier and controls the specification of the handsets,' Mr Chu said. This control allows the firm to make access much faster and better for the user. The GSM (globally system for mobile communications) world is trying to move in that direction but is not yet there. Mr Chu said the entry cost of a handset on the mainland meant that people would be more willing to buy a mobile phone than a PC, so they wanted more features. In Hong Kong, many people had a PC and a mobile phone. Mr Serjeant said many users in Hong Kong did not bother to go to PDA-formatted sites but preferred to carry a notebook computer that gave them more flexibility. 'It is hardly any wonder that ring tones, Java games and SMS are the biggest attractions on mobile phones,' he said. 'It is a lot easier to snap a picture and send it than it is to type in the simplest URL.' Considering the China market is vastly bigger than Hong Kong, developers should certainly give it some thought. Even simple solutions such as using style sheets that can format a webpage for the small screen are worth considering. Mr Chu said a lot more was to come, particularly with video. Several companies are working with the OpenWave product support director to set up streaming video in the region. Some innovations will be announced soon.