SEVERAL Chinese ministries are pooling their resources and merging specialised divisions into a new telecommunications network to provide a more efficient service for the country. The network, to be connected to the existing national network of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), will enlarge the country's telecommunications capacity. Liu Jianfeng, executive vice-minister of the Ministry of Electronics Industry, said in Hong Kong yesterday the China United Telecommunication Co had just been approved by Beijing. Other ministries involved included the Ministry of Railways, the Ministry of Power and other departments, Mr Liu said. ''The new telecom company is to make use of the private telecommunications networks and other potential capacities of the ministries . . . to establish a united telecom network,'' he said. No shareholding breakdown or paid-up capital of the company was given. Nor was a date provided for the set-up. Although the MPT is the sole operator of telecommunications services in China, several ministries have their own specialised networks for their own use. It is understood the new united network will have been approved by the MPT and will be managed by the MPT, although the new company could provide services of its own. Telecoms services in China are currently restricted by the MPT and limited to bodies approved by it. Foreigners are still not permitted to take equity stakes in ventures to provide telecommunications services of any sort on the mainland. Briefing a Hong Kong Electronics Association audience on the development of China's electronics industry, Mr Liu said he expected the sector to grow by more than 20 per cent annually. Strategic plans have been mapped out for such development. Included is the setting up of a system equipped for electronic banking, requiring up to 10 years and costing more than 10 billion yuan (about HK$13.4 billion at the official rate). Mr Liu said that under the plan, both credit and cash cards for financial transactions would be introduced across the country. Also planned is the setting up of a public economic information network. Under that project, provincial governments, large and medium-sized enterprises and a large number of important sources of information will be grouped into a network to provide decision-makers at various levels with timely and accurate data. Under construction are four production centres for large-scale integrated circuits and software parks in Guangdong's Zhuhai and Shanghai's Pudong areas. Mr Liu said foreign companies could be permitted to take equity interests in some enterprises in the electronics sector, following the just-concluded third plenum. In keeping with China's aim of re-entering the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade, across-the-board tariff cuts are expected. In the face of keener competition from foreign products, Mr Liu said quality should be raised. Unofficial statistics showed the output value of the electronics industry under the State Council was more than 130 billion yuan last year, he said. Rapid development in the electronics industry had been encouraging in recent years, he said. Consumer products such as television sets and acoustic equipment now accounted for some 45.8 per cent of the total industrial value of the sector.