CHINA is expected to release more statistical information about the country, as the government begins to realise the commercial value of the information, which is sought after by foreign investors, according to a geographical information specialist. 'Even though China has opened its economy, the mainland statistics authorities are still lagging behind,' said Lucy Kwan, managing director of Huang Kwan and Associates. She said many foreign investors had encountered difficulties in obtaining statistical information from China, especially material that was very detailed and refined. The problem arose from the statistics bureaus not recognising the commercial value of the information, and because they failed to compile them for value-added products. 'In China, the information is mainly for scientific application, but not commercial application,' said Ms Kwan, adding that there was a gap between the information providers and the end-users. But to underscore Beijing's gradually changing stance, the State Statistics Bureau has established a vehicle in Hong Kong, the China Statistics Consultancy, for delivery of information overseas. In fact, the difficulties have turned into business opportunities for Huang Kwan, which last month launched a computer mapping software - 'Superstat China' - the first ever done on China. The software will initially cover Guangdong province and the company expects to be covering Beijing and Shanghai by the end of the year. Ms Kwan said the data was being sourced from China's State Statistics Bureau and that the company had secured exclusive arrangements for electronic media use for the information which was very in-depth. Using digitalised mapping technology, down to the geographical levels of streets and districts, the software can retrieve seven major categories of information, including births and deaths, demographics, education, household, labour force, migration and socio-economic information. The software can retrieve seven major categories of information, including births and deaths, demographics, education, household, labour force, migration and socio-economic information.