Tom Online has teamed up with Luxembourg-based voice over internet protocol (VoIP) software developer Skype in a joint venture to explore business opportunities in China. Tom, which provides mobile value-added services in China, holds 51 per cent of the venture, with Skype holding the remainder. No terms of the deal were available. It is Skype's first joint venture with Tom since the two formed a partnership last year. 'China is a big market so Skype needs a partner to explore the market opportunity,' Tom vice-president Elaine Feng said. Tom and Skype will inject all Skype-related business into the joint venture. The new company will focus on developing VoIP services for all internet users, not just Tom's. 'The new venture is a neutral platform for all portals in China. We hope other portals that do not have instant messenger services will join us,' Ms Feng said. Last year, Tom developed a tailor-made simplified Chinese-language edition of Skype products for Chinese users. With more than 3.4 million registered users, China is one of Skype's top three markets worldwide. 'As China has over 200 million internet users, we hope to achieve a double-digit market share. There is still room to grow the user base,' Ms Feng said, adding the joint venture would devote more resources to marketing to boost its user base. The new venture will provide a free online chat service on Skype's software. It will explore new revenue streams by bundling value-added services, such as ring tones or graphic downloads, and through the Skype Out service - phone calls over the internet.