DAH SING BANK considers itself an innovator and early adopter of technology in Asia, and has an impressive record, according to Ricky Wong, the bank's e-commerce development manager. 'It's a little known fact that we were the first bank in Hong Kong to offer internet banking to our corporate customers back in March 2000,' Mr Wong said. 'We started to offer online services to our retail customers then, although it was not a full featured internet banking system, but an EBPP [electronic bill payment and presentation] system,' he said. At that time, the system used EPS (easy payment system) to connect to a PPS (phone payment system). However simple it may have been, it was a start. Over the years, the bank has looked at a lot of technologies, and Web services was something Dah Sing thought could be useful. Many factors went into deciding how it would design its system. The bank looked at Microsoft's Active Server Pages (ASP), Java and a number of other technologies. In the end, the J2EE [Java 2 Enterprise Edition] platform presented the best choice, Mr Wong said. Dah Sing Bank built its e-banking and i-securities services on BEA's WebLogic Application Server, running on Sun's Solaris operating system with an Oracle database. 'Performance, always a problem in projects of this kind, was not an issue,' Mr Wong said. 'Today, we have up to 30,000 registered users for e-banking, and we have never had a single performance problem with WebLogic since the day it went live. Any other issues that appeared were resolved quite promptly.' The system was implemented in record time, as well. It took the bank four months after the first code was written to get the online banking system up and running. Two months later, after extensive testing, the system went into production. 'We were able to welcome our first e-banking customer within the deadline given by the bank's management,' he said. Although it is unlikely the bank will make any radical changes to the architecture of its IT, the choice to go with J2EE has certainly given it a great deal of flexibility. Mr Wong is happy with BEA, Sun and Oracle, but the whole system could be moved to another platform. 'Once we decided on Java, we realised that WebLogic had the largest developer community in the world for application development, because of its large market share and deployment in some of the toughest sites in the world, including Deutsche Bank, Citibank, E*Trade and so on,' Mr Wong said.