Air China seizes high-tech advantage Air China, the mainland's largest commercial airline, has selected specialist aviation software systems supplier Sabre Airline Solutions to provide a clutch of analytical technologies to boost the carrier's marketing, sales, strategic network and planning decisions. The deal is the first such contract in the mainland for market information data tapes (MIDT) tools, which analyse global distribution system (GDS) bookings. Air China will process its MIDT data through the Sabre WiseVision Data Services, turning large volumes of complex booking transactions from GDSs into mission-critical information for making timely, facts-based operational decisions. 'Air China will have a clear view of total market demand and true market share in key international markets,' said Qui Feng, deputy general manager for network and revenue management at Air China. 'This information is critical to support strategic decisions on our international routes.' The move by Air China to employ the latest in business intelligence technology is expected to spur other emerging airlines in Asia to adopt the same strategy. 'There has never been a better time than now to build accurate models and forecasts of airline passenger demand in this critical Chinese market,' said Andrew Powell, vice-president at Sabre Airline Solutions Asia-Pacific. SIM TECHNOLOGY GROUP ALL SET FOR 3G LAB TEST With China expected to issue 3G network licences in the second half of the year, mobile handset systems designer SIM Technology Group said it had begun operations at a new TD-SCDMA laboratory on the mainland with partner Datang Mobile (Shanghai) Communications Equipment. The Hong Kong-listed firm said the lab, built jointly with Datang, would test its new GSM/TD-SCDMA dual-mode handset modules. These systems are expected to be available to mobile phone manufacturers in October. Datang Mobile has provided the TD-SCDMA network Node B Base station facilities. Testing will include radio frequency, audio, protocol and high-layer applications. 'We are very honoured to pioneer the development of proprietary 3G standards in China for commercial use,' said Raymond Tsang, SIM Technology chief executive. The group planned to invest about 10 per cent of its annual R&D budget on developing TD-SCDMA, China's homegrown 3G standard. Last year, the company spent $144 million on R&D, up 162 per cent year-on-year, and helped develop 152 cellular handsets. SYBASe and red flag to drive linux in china Enterprise systems supplier Sybase and Beijing's Red Flag Software have forged an alliance to drive the adoption of Linux as an alternative operating system to Windows and Unix, in mainland industries. The two companies have committed an undisclosed amount of resources to product compatibility assurance, integration with local technologies and marketing co-operation. Founded in 2000, Red Flag pioneered Linux use by Chinese companies. 'The signing of this memorandum of understanding will help those companies achieve secure, industrial-strength data management at a low total cost of ownership,' said Mark Westover, vice-president at Sybase for global business development and marketing.