linktone tunes in to music downloads with 9sky buy Linktone, a wireless interactive applications provider based in Shanghai, plans to spearhead legal, full-track digital music download services on the mainland through its strategic investment in 9Sky International. Raymond Yang Lei, chief executive at Nasdaq-listed Linktone, said: 'Our vision is to build a platform that offers music-related products and to become China's leading wireless and internet provider of entertainment content.' With about a million registered users, 9Sky is one of the most recognised brands for music downloads on the mainland. It offers consumers licensed music downloads from local and international record labels including Sony BMG and EMI. Linktone will initially buy a majority stake in 9Sky for an undisclosed amount. Based on certain performance targets, it will buy the remaining shares it does not own in 9Sky after two years. The transaction is expected to be completed next month. Before the Linktone deal, 9Sky was in the process of introducing licensed full-track music download services on the mainland. According to Linktone, 9Sky's subscribers come from the same user demographic that it targets - 16- to 30-year-olds with plenty of disposable income to pay for digital entertainment downloads. 'We believe the market for the licensing and sale of music download services is at its early stages of growth and it is the right time for Linktone to enter this promising market,' Mr Yang said. Linktone - with businesses in multimedia messaging, mobile ring tones and online games - recently acquired Brilliant Concept Investments and Beijing Cosmos. SUN WAH LINUX scores big with schools project Sun Wah Linux, part of the privately held Hong Kong conglomerate Sun Wah Group, has kick-started its expansion on the mainland with a deal to supply open-source software to the education sector. The firm's Debian-based Linux operating system, Rays LX, was selected by the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education for installation on 141,624 desktop personal computers for students under the provincial government's 346.2 million yuan 'school-to-school project'. Alex Banh, chief executive at Sun Wah Linux, said: 'This is the largest Linux desktop rollout in Asia and the largest technology purchase to date in China's education industry.' He said the mainland's efforts to adopt a national open-source operating system would save it millions of US dollars 'and profoundly influence China's Linux development and software applications promotion'. PC suppliers taking part in the Jiangsu project included Lenovo, Founder and Haier. Ju Zongqi, project leader of Jiangsu Province Education Department, said: 'We chose the Sun Wah Linux operating system because of the urgent demand for domestic software in the education sector and to prove that domestic software has reached a considerable level of usability.' Sun Wah Linux is a core member of the National Linux Standard Workgroup.