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Digital plans China NC venture

China Aerospace Corporation agrees to work with Digital to develop, manufacture, and sell network computers in China.

Digital (DEC) and China Aerospace Corporation (CASC) are planning to work together to develop, manufacture, and sell network computers (NCs) in China.

The two companies have agreed to evaluate the possibility of selling NCs based on Digital's StrongARM RISC processor in China by late 1997, according to a report in the online edition of Nikkei Business Publications.

Digital and CASC would invest approximately $20 million each and employ around 140 people in the joint venture. Digital would help design the system and help set up the networks of servers that support NCs. CASC would offer its expertise in manufacturing and distribution. The companies said sales could reach $50 million on sales of 150,000 units by the year 2000, the report said.

The systems would be based on Digital's recently announced reference design, which uses Network Computer Incorporated's operating system and application software. NCI, a subsidiary of primary NC advocate Oracle, has defined the NC as a device that is capable of downloading applications from a central server computer and running them locally.

China Aerospace is an enormous science and technology company--employing over 270,000--which researches, designs, and manufactures technology. Its products are used in everything from satellites and missiles to consumer products. The announcement marks the second joint venture between the two companies, according to the report.