APPLE Computer's president and chief executive Michael Spindler has announced a major expansion of the company's business links in China with the opening of a unique software development and publishing initiative based in Beijing. The Apple Publishing Technology Centre was established along with the China Research Institute of Printing, Science and Technology (CRIPST), which is a research organisation under the Press and Publication Administration of China. It was also supported by 15 other computer vendors which have provided key publishing hardware and software for the venture. The centre aims to offer a range of services in the Chinese market, including systems integration, consulting, training and high quality output services. Mr Spindler said the Chinese Government had made clear it wanted to increase the size of the electronic publishing industry, which was crucial for the economic development of the country. 'The goal of this centre is not only to showcase the latest technology, but also to transfer publishing knowledge and skills to our Chinese partners,' Mr Spindler said. The Apple Publishing Technology Centre will be owned and operated by CRIPST, with Apple giving advice on management issues. Other vendors which have committed hardware and software resources include AGFA, Linotype-Hell, Scitex, Adobe, QuarkXpress, Radius, Microtek and Tektronix. Apple has been quiet in the China market compared to IBM-compatible vendors such as AST, Compaq and IBM itself. But the company has made considerable progress in the area of local language development, and in the desktop publishing market it is well positioned to achieve strong growth on the mainland. 'Apple is working closely with a host of local software developers to create application software development centres and to contribute to the growth of China's software industry, which we realise is an important focus for the country at this time,' Mr Spindler said. For the past two years Apple has quietly improved its local language systems and clearly believes its Macintosh platform now holds a technological edge over competitors as the best available Chinese-language computing service. The development of Apple's Chinese language operating system software means Chinese users can take advantage of the Macintosh's excellent interface in their native language, taking into account the unique input requirements of Chinese computing. Further evidence of Apple's close ties with China were the successful launch of its developer services programme at the Apple Technology Forum held in Beijing in June, the establishment of a training centre at Beijing's Tsinghua University in September last year, and the more recent collaboration with the Weifang Huaguang Electronic Group to set up a software development centre.