MKI Corporation has joined forces with international communications company Columbia Cellular Corporation to set up wireless telecommunications systems in China. The two companies have established a 50-50 joint-venture company known as Columbia MKI Telecommunications, which will have the exclusive rights to distribute Columbia's patented wireless telecommunications products and services in China. At the same time, Khalid Hossain, chairman of the Columbia International Telecommunications Group, and his associates have taken a 20 per cent stake in MKI. He has also been appointed chief executive and a director of MKI. Columbia has the technology and expertise to set up very large systems from 500,000 to one million lines. Mr Hossain said this sort of wireless technology was ideal for urban environments, but also particularly good in remoteareas where conventional wire telecommunications systems were not cost-effective. Its system allows the use of standard telephone equipment including regular telephones, facsimile machines and modems. Houses and businesses can be wired inside the building for regular telephone service but require no outside wires connecting the building to the central telephone exchange. Mr Hossain said MKI basically fulfilled the purposes and fitted in with the existing business of Columbia. ''It [MKI] is a company we found to have an excellent strategic position and is ready, with proper backing and resources, to become a significant player in China,'' he said. He said the company was holding discussions with several potential partners in China to set up joint ventures, providing wireless equipment and services on the mainland. ''We hope we can find the appropriate partners as quickly as possible. [Once it is concluded] we can move extremely rapidly. '' The company aimed to work with China's telecommunications authorities at national, provincial and local levels to provide equipment and services to the country. The American-based Columbia Capital Corporation and its affiliate, Columbia Cellular Corporation, have helped construct and operate wireless telecommunications systems in more than 40 countries. Its affiliate Telular is completing, in partnership with Alcatel and Telephonia de Espana, the world's largest wireless telecommunications projects in Spain. Apart from China, the company is looking to expand into Central Asian countries, such as Mongolia and Kazakhstan, as a natural expansion from China. ''We feel that our system is suitable for the developing economies, so we see a lot of opportunities throughout Asia,'' Mr Hossain said. Columbia has already operated a test system in Kazakhstan. He said MKI would pursue a new strategic direction for growth using private sector resources and expertise to work with governments to provide infrastructure and basic goods and services for emerging countries.