AMERICAN computer maker AST signed Asia's largest personal computer (PC) contract of HK$1 billion yesterday with China's largest computer corporate Legend Holdings. The contract will involve the shipment of about 60,000 units of desktop and server systems, as well as notebook systems to China and Hong Kong by June next year. They will be distributed through Legend's three subsidiaries - Legend Technology, Expert System Company and Creative Technologies. Chairman of AST Research, Safi Qureshey, while stressing China would become the largest PC market in the next decade, said the company had invested US$16 million to establish its headquarters in Tianjin with a monthly capacity of 10,000. AST general manager of the China division, Daniel Wong, said yesterday AST had successfully obtained a 10,000 domestic sales quota in China for this year. He expected the shipment of PCs to China to grow by 50 per cent from 14,000 units last year to 20,000 units by the end of this year. The company would expand its presence in China by authorising 15 extra service centres in cities such as Jinan, Chongqing, Guilin, Changchun. It currently has 30 services centres. AST also plans to double its number of staff in China, mostly technicians, from about 40 to 80. Meanwhile, AST is eyeing China's international company sector. 'We anticipate the sector will grow by four to five times within two years,' Mr Wong said. Evidence of this can be gauged by the number of foreign enterprises registering in Shanghai last year. The number exceeded the total for the previous nine years. 'We are negotiating with three companies, of which two are from Hong Kong and one from China, and we are close to the status of disclosure.'